Look, no one wants to mess up marketing, and this article isn’t going to speculate about why these things happen, but rather how to fix PR calamities. However the motto ~ never tweet ~ comes to mind.
The problem comes in many different shapes and sizes, but it can usually be distilled into a outcry from *dozens* of outraged individuals. Something amazing happens when you offend so many people at once. Your brand goes viral, but not for the reasons you typically want.
Let’s look at some train wrecks.
Woolworths “Fresh in our Memories” campaign back fired spectacularly
Or perhaps some hot n spicy KFC
Sometimes you don’t even need to be online to go viral: #Choppergate
Again, no speculation required. We’re here to tell you how to fix this marketing mess!
How to fix
Step 1: Be Honest
You messed up and you need to own it! Act honestly and swiftly. The internet responds best when you’re being authentic, so do not lie – the internet will know and it will make you look worse. The second part to this point is to act swiftly. Not responding looks terrible and will enable things to snowball out of control.
Step 2: Listen to the critiques
Consumers have something to say and if they’re paying your bills you should probably listen. It’s not enough to apologise and then throw your head in the sand hoping that this nightmare will wash over. No! you need own it, address as many criticisms as you can and check step 1, be honest, authentic and swift about it.
Step 3: Break Even
You need to pay damages. We can look at Bronwyn Bishop as an example here, she eventually payed back the flight money that she assumed political entitlements should pay for. Other examples of this are manufactures making recalls on defective products or replacing defective parts in motor vehicles.
And that friends is how you get out of the PR nightmare.