Is all publicity good publicity?

I’ve had this conversation on many occasions, is all publicity good publicity? I watched a show recently and a group of women were talking about the fact that one of them had been in the media and she wasn’t concerned about the fact that the publicity wasn’t favourable or positive it was entirely negative but to her all that mattered was that her name is out there.  That is something I hear often, people think as long as they’re being spoken about is all that matters.

Well as a professional in the business that has had to manage crisis communications on behalf of clients I don’t agree with this statement at all. Think about it, I’ve said it before if you’re a restaurant owner and you get a huge amount of negative media attention for food poisoning and rodent infestation how do you think that would impact your sales? I think it’s fair to say that your restaurant might look like a ghost town depending on the severity of the coverage.

That’s a hypothetical example so let us take a brief look at some real crisis that has taken place. Look at the BP Oil spill in the Gulf in 2010. BP understandably received a significant amount of negative press with images of the oil gushing out, animals covered in oil and news that 11 workers died in the explosion. I’m pretty certain that bosses at BP didn’t think oh well all publicity is good when they had people boycotting their fuel stations and a media frenzy covering the incident.

Or we could look at the UK supermarket horsemeat scandal in 2013 which resulted in a whole host of jokes, info-graphics and memes be circulated across the internet. Showing just how influential social media channels can be when it comes to the public’s perception. The scandal affected bottom line sales as well as loosing trust from consumers.

Another example is the video featuring two Dominos employees doing disgusting things to pizzas that amassed almost one million hits on YouTube! As you would expect it was extremely damaging for the brand.

These are loads of examples to illustrate how bad publicity has hurt brands. I believe there is such a thing as bad publicity and while most do recover from the crisis if handled openly and transparently the bad publicity they’ve received has done some serious reputational damage for at least the short term….. and maybe longer.

Now you’ve heard from me, but what do you think? Do you believe that all publicity is good publicity?  Feel free to leave a comment!

PR what is it & do you really need it?

What is Public Relations?

Public relations (PR) is a tactic used to help promote you or your business in the media (both traditional and online) and to the public. It involves managing image and reputation, including the information you give out about your business. It also includes dealing with crisis and handling negative PR coverage.

My professional body, The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) defines PR as:

  • Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.

PR is great for building brand credibility, it is different from advertising as PR will use the media such as magazines, newspapers, radio, online outlets etc to promote and communicate your business messages.

For example if you have a new product or service, PR is the service that would organise a press launch, send out a press release or write an article to promote it in the media, so that your product or service is visible to your key target audience.

PR is vital for informing, engaging and building a relationship with your target audience, be it customers, suppliers, other businesses with an interest in yours. PR is also very important to your brand messaging which you want to be positive, and is the service you would turn to for help with a media crisis or negative media mentions.

PR is targeted, it tailors information to appeal to your target customers/audience rather than working on a one size fits all strategy.

Do you need PR?

PR is important to your business and if you have a product or service that you want to promote to the public, it is something you should seriously consider investing in. PR is about raising your business profile, using the media  to do this can significantly increase your profile, whilst raising awareness of what you do, educating your target audiences and positioning you or your business as an expert in your field or the go to business for XYZ product.  As a result this can generate more enquiries, sales and awareness.

Understandably if you’re a small business, the word budget will be ringing in your ears, that’s where using freelancers like myself, can really help. Freelancers are cheaper than PR agencies and can be more flexible. Alternatively, you can also manage some of your PR yourself, there’s lots of information online about how to do this. There are platforms that you can use to help write and issue a press release, for example helps to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and the media.

We’re living in a 24/7 media society and there are lots of opportunities to take advantage of to promote and big up your business. If you don’t do it, then who will?

PR is a cost effective tactic, positive media coverage in a journal aimed at your key customer audience, or in your local newspaper is taken more seriously than a paid for advert.

As a freelance communications consultant, specialising in PR & digital marketing I advise clients on strategy ad media handling. I develop and maintain relationships with the relevant media for your business. I also write press releases, articles and other content to help get press coverage among other things!