Good or bad, happy or tragic, the media’s response to a big event that just took place could drastically affect your company. Often, it’s in ways you wouldn’t expect and you may be unprepared for. This is precisely why it’s important to keep one eye on the news and figure out ahead of time what to do during a potential windfall… or downfall.
The response may even come from out of complete nowhere, making a response strategy even more imperative. Do you think the video game industry was prepared for the backlash against them after Columbine? Or, on a better note, think of all the times you’ve read a success story of a business and they’ve said “We had no idea the response would be like this!” Some great PR opportunities just fall out of the clear blue sky, and you have to be ready for them.
Why It Happens
It’s not like the media is sitting around thinking of ways to promote or derail your company. They’re reacting to a huge event the same way the rest of the country is: one detail at a time. Sometimes this turns into a debacle, as sometimes incorrect facts slip through the cracks and air on national TV or are spread almost instantly across the Internet. (Ex: Morgran Freeman is still not dead.)
Some of these falsities may involve your company in some way, which may or may not be a good thing. But whether or not the facts are true is irrelevant. What you have to worry about is when the attention in on your company and how prepared you are to shine in the spotlight.
What everyone in your state/country/planet is going to watch for is your handling of the situation. They may come on your Facebook accusing you (let’s be honest, most of these situations are negative) of this, that, or the other. They’ll be waiting for your response so they can pounce – make sure it’s a good one or you’re toast.
If the event is big enough and you’re really worried about your response, it may be important to buy some time. You don’t want to just toss out some canned response that may further enrage everyone who’s on your Facebook page or blog. This could exacerbate the situation where it gets completely out of control.
Immediately after the tragic Sandy Hook event, people were looking for someone to blame. Someone noticed on the (incorrectly) identified shooter’s Facebook page he had “liked” several video games. The companies then had to deal with an angry public that just wanted some sort of answer in the face of a shocking tragedy.
For the most part, the companies stayed silent, though if you’ve seen the news you may have noticed the outrage didn’t exactly dissipate. You may not be able to afford to just hang back, so a short note to buy some time could help. For example, a short message expressing sympathy and announcing you’ll be making a bigger statement later could help you get your ducks in order first.
Which company do you think had the classiest response to public outrage?
Also check out: 15 Types of Events Your Business Can Host
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here: http://www.ereleases.com/landing3.html