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Is negative publicity good for business

negative publicity good for businessMost of us have heard the expression “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. But does it hold true for businesses? The popular notion is that as long as the customers are discussing your organisation, it’s adding unintended value. Negative publicity is good when it is able to arouse people’s curiosity.

We are often asked – Is negative publicity good for business? The reasoning that works behind negative publicity is that even if people are criticising any particular aspect of your business, they are also seen as giving it attention.

A study from Stanford Graduate School of Business stated that negative publicity can enhance sales when a business is unknown and eyeing at bolstering awareness about its products/services. In some cases, this is true. When a market is flooded with competing products, negative publicity can actually turn out to be valuable.

There have been plenty of cases of bad publicity that worked in favour of a particular brand image. The sales of Michael Jackson’s music escalated significantly when the media reported that he dangled his child over a balcony.

But Michael Jackson is the exception, not the rule. Let’s not forget what happened to Tiger Woods. Thanks to negative publicity, his ‘brand’ image lost credibility and innumerable sponsors.

One has to understand that nothing is good in excess which means whether it is too much flattery from the media or scathing reviews you are subjected to, this can be detrimental to your image in the long run. In the case of negative publicity especially, it is necessary to take timely action to nip the issue in the bud before it assumes insurmountable proportions.

It is shocking to note that businesses are no longer able to control the end-to-end messaging about their services/products in this age of digital media. In fact, most of these enterprises don’t know how to represent their brand online to bag positive publicity.

Hence, we decided to define certain key points that companies should follow in this rapidly changing marketplace. After all, understanding the advantages of negative publicity can strengthen purchase likelihood and sales.

  • Bad Reviews are Good

Trust us, bad reviews make a product/service look realistic. Conflicting reviews help bring credibility to a business. Take a look into the online reviews of movies, mobile phone or even a restaurant. Every user or audience has a different opinion.

Also Read: Relevance of the role of media in Public Relations 

  • Be Open to Change

If your audiences do not like a particular aspect of your product/service, they might be right. You should try and do things differently based on the feedback. Enhance the happiness quotient of your customers by addressing the issue at the earliest.

  • Never React Negatively

If you plan to fight it, things will only become worse. One negative reaction can hamper your image.

  • Be Prompt to Take Steps

It is crucial to respond appropriately. Hence every business should create a digital media contingency plan, keeping the future in mind.

  • Never Aim to Please Everyone

It’s hard to believe, but no, organisation/brand can please everyone. Award-winning, popular products have often faced scathing criticism. No business is safe from negative reviews.

Every business aims to generate as much positive exposure as possible, but in this digital era, it is best to prevent bad publicity from happening in the first place. Business owners, marketers and PR professionals should always keep a crisis communication plan handy that helps them avoid dangers.

Also Read: What is Crisis Management in Public Relations? 

Negative publicity is good for business when there is an action plan in place. How an organisation tackles bad reviews makes all the difference.

So, have you ever encountered bad publicity? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

2 Comments
  1. I feel that negative publicity usually have differential effects on established versus unknown products. Negative headlines can be detrimental to the bottom line of big brands.

    Let’s take a quick look at these examples of enterprises battered by negative publicity.

    – SeaWorld’s public image was tarnished since CNN’s “Blackfish” documentary that brought to light less-than-ideal habitats for its famous Orca whales.

    – Bad press and protests ruptured the glamorous image of the Beverly Hills Hotel after its owner, the Sultan of Brunei, decided to introduce Shariah law in his country.

  2. If handled properly, bad publicity can be good for a business, but it’s not something that business owners should seek. Any positive impact a business can gain by courting controversy could be better attained by applying the same effort to good marketing and PR.

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