Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?
By Veronika Noize, The Marketing Coach
There's an old saying that goes something like this: "All publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right." Frankly, as a marketing professional, I would pretty much agree with that. Publicity means visibility, which generates awareness that could lead to interest, which combined with the credibility that earned media endows, could very easily lead to sampling or a decision to buy. (Bear in mind that what looks like a long, convoluted path on paper actually takes only seconds to register in the minds of your customers, and then you have results!)
Even if there is a small glitch in the system, say for example that the name of your product, service, or a web site is misspelled (or heaven forbid, missing!) in the story, then that in itself may be an opportunity for more press, and even more visibility, which only reinforces the original piece. That opportunity is the correction, which would appear in a subsequent issue of the publication or on the show (if it had been broadcast on radio or TV), which would remind people who saw it the first time as well as draw the attention of new readers, viewers or listeners. Good deal, right?
But what about the bad stuff--negative publicity? Isn't that the stuff that closes restaurants, keeps people from eating beef, and drives political candidates from public office? Well, yes it is, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. I look at negative publicity as an opportunity, which is how I want all my clients to look at it. The public loves a good comeback story, and is usually willing to give an errant underdog a second (or third or fourth or--you get the idea) chance, but only if the problem is handled correctly. In that case, it can mean a media bonanza!
Remember that when you receive negative publicity, you can do something about the situation that caused the bad press in the first place, and what you do becomes newsworthy. You can plead ignorance if you have to, apologize, ask forgiveness, and pledge to redeem yourself or whatever needs fixing in the situation. The public is amazingly forgiving, as long as you are sincere in your efforts to right whatever wrongs are attributed to you. And in doing so, you may even take advantage of that opportunity to let the world know a little about you, your story, your struggles, and the challenges you've faced as an entrepreneur.
Negative allegations can be refuted, disputed, or admitted, all of which gets you media attention. But to get really positive media attention (turning that media frown upside down, if you will), your story must have a positive, results-oriented spin. If you (and your attorney) believe you have been slandered, then you could sue. You could bring experts of impeccable credibility to weigh in on your behalf. Of course, if the allegations or bad press is true (or at least based on truth), you could use the opportunity of media attention to admit it, and pledge to rectify the error. You might even get some attention for continuing to champion the cause (cleanliness, organic beef, or marital fidelity) that brought you to grief originally.
The positive result of any publicity is name recognition, which drives interest (and therefore sales), even if the motive is purely schadenfreude. So don't fret too much about negative publicity, because no matter how bad it looks, you can use it as an opportunity to get a public platform for yourself and your business. Which means at the end of the day, virtually any publicity is good publicity.
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Is Any Publicity Good Publicity? Copyright © 2002 Veronika. All rights reserved.