Small biz: Surviving a PR nightmare

Surviving a PR Nightmare

Guest post by Matthew Quinn

All businesses work hard to build their brands; often startups work tirelessly just to get noticed when they are starting out.

Despite all of the measures that businesses take in order to protect their company’s name, mistakes do happen. And, in the digital age and social media revolution, a simple tweet or Facebook update could be detrimental to the company’s image.

Public Relation nightmares come in varying degrees. For example, in February 2016, McDonald’s faced a lawsuit over their “deceptive” mozzarella sticks that lacked cheese, and this was extremely damaging to their brand. On the other hand, some companies experience small controversies whenever their employees say something damning on social media, which usually leads to said employees’ termination.

Regardless of the degree of a PR nightmare, here are some things that you may want to keep in mind in case your business, no matter how small it is, faces adversity in the future.

Breathe

This may seem like something rather trivial but this is quite possibly the most important piece of advice documented in this list. When you see something unfolding before your eyes, compose yourself. Don’t respond immediately – think about how you need to provide constructive feedback.

For instance, if it is a review from a journalist or another industry expert, take the criticism on board and thank them for their feedback while looking to resolve the issue professionally.

Respond quickly

Responding quickly will help to minimize the damage. A day without responding is too long, and people, specifically consumers and the industry on a whole, want to hear your side to the story. By not replying quickly, you might as well as admit liability. After all, if you’re not at fault, and you haven’t done anything wrong, why would it take so long to respond? In short, you should prioritize matters such as these.

You can use social media to respond to customer feedback. Most companies use Twitter in order to provide quick responses to issues. Oil and gas construction firm Unaoil, for example, used Twitter to respond to the biggest scandal that the firm has faced since its inception. They even left the tweet a pinned tweet at the top of their wall so people could see it. Using social media to respond to controversy is a good way to get the message across to the world from your company’s point of view.

Launch a positive campaign

Bad PR doesn’t stick around forever especially if you try and counter it with something positive. Try doing something for the community or supporting causes that benefit the world. Remember the Coca Cola ad that was under fire last year because many saw it as “white people handing out soda to poor Mexicans?” Coca Cola didn’t intend for the ad to be interpreted, so they needed to act quickly to turn a negative into a positive. So, they launched a positive campaign about wellness titled ‘Coming Together’.

It’s important to make sure that you always take into consideration the feedback you receive from your consumer base as it could affect future business. Your target audience is your business’ lifeline, so make sure to always keep them happy and reply in a polite manner, and use the feedback to improve the way you do business.

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Disclaimer : tractorgirl collaborated with Matthew Quinn to bring you this post. But rest assured I only ever share things I genuinely believe in, and that I think will be useful for you!

This was me, six years ago

 

six years ago

 

I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come in the last couple of years. On my down days, I feel like I’m pedalling that same bike around that same circuit.

Except I’m not.

Just like Karen Gunton’s lighthouse analogy, it might seem like we’re going round in circles, but we’re actually spiralling upwards. We can tell, because the view changes as we go.

Here’s a little something I wrote six years ago, when I had the tiniest Etsy shop with the baddest photos. Scarlet was my alter-ego, who spent a lot of time sighing and looking out the window, wishing things were better.

 

KAPOW.

Super Scarlet was back in business.
“This is it.” thought Scarlet. “Today is the day.”
Today was mid-winter solstice. “The longest night means that tomorrow, the days will start getting longer. Time for a spring clean.”
She grabbed pencil and paper.
Time to make a to-do list.

Finish 3 more cushions
Make 5 new bags.
Sort some business cards.
Tidy that garden. (oh my, have you seen it of late?)
Sort that bookshelf.
Fix those broken toys.
Do those clothing repairs.
Vacuum that filthy floor.
Wash that school uniform for tomorrow.
Do those dishes…

Oh.

Um, OK. now to prioritise.
Hmmm. She turned the list upside down and sighed.

 

Um, No.

Sure life with a family is a juggle – it always is and nothing’s going to change that. But seriously? Those house jobs are not your business. If you’re serious about your business, that list will stay right way up. No, it’s not easy, and of course you have to be flexible. Factor that stuff in to your timetable. If you’re serious, you’ll find a way to make it all fit.

 

Remember this:
There’s never enough time to do everything.
It always comes down to priorities.

 

Happy solstice x

So, what was the 2016 Artful Business Conference like?
2016 artful business conference

Me, hanging out with a few friends at the Artful Business Conference – Jess, Dominique, Tash, Jayne, Karen, and Stevie <3

 

What WAS the 2016 Artful Business Conference like? Perhaps I don’t even have to say the words. Of course it was fabulous.

I got to actually MEET and give hugs to Jess Van Den, who I’ve known online for about a gazillion years. Too too beautiful! I got to dance with a room full of 80 or so women and laugh. I got my soul stirred by the hauntingly beautiful voice of Dominique Oyston. I got to play with paper and glue and textas, and draw on the table. I was lucky enough to get an Indian head massage from Shalini. I got fed SO much incredible information and I have written pages and pages and PAGES of notes of things to implement (oh!!!!). Hugs hugs and more hugs with gorgeous people I met IRL at last year’s conference – Tash Corbin, Karen Gunton, Jess May, Katie Wyatt, Jayne Traeger-Bliss and so many more…. and of course ELLE and her team – Meg, Kellie, and Jodi. And even more hugs from new friends I’ve only met online since last year. So many laughs, and tears too – of joy, of resonance, and connection (and not as many tears from overwhelm like there were for me last year, haha!!).

There were some fabulous quotes too.

“Focus on one thing” – Katie

“You’ve got to fill yourself up from the inside out” – Melanie

“You can never live the life you want without disappointing some people” – Felicity

“Focus on the long game” – Tash

“Don’t tolerate. What’s the biggest thing you’re tolerating in your life right now?” – Sylvia

“Tell yourself, ‘It’s a practice’. Give yourself permission to make mistakes” – Tash

“It’s not Artful unless there’s tears” – Jayne

“A keynote speech is an emotional journey.
You need to get your audience to feel why it’s important.” – Dominique

 

 

That last one is particularly important for me. Because I’ve got a little announcement to make.

 

I’M GOING TO BE SPEAKING AT NEXT YEAR’S EVENT.

 

Hooley freaking dooley. Yes I am.

And I cannot wait. Book your ticket here, and I’ll see you there.

 

avi IMG_0108 crop circle brighter

 

Big love, Julie x