Every time a brand makes a mistake and produces content that isn’t well received by their audience, you can be sure to hear someone yelling from the sidelines “but all publicity is good publicity!” 🙄
To this I say, “the 1950s called and it wants its marketing back!”
There is absolutely such a thing as bad publicity, and here’s a few reasons why.
The bottom line. Gaffes such as these usually cause a drop in sales, and for a publicly listed company, a drop in stock price. I often hear the argument “but it will come back up again! At least people are talking about them!” Sure, it may come back up again. But wouldn’t it be better if it didn’t drop in the first place? These losses will reduce the company’s ROI or lose them money overall. It will take time to recover.
Moral reasons. These mistakes are often due to the advert or content causing offence. I believe that both creatives and companies have a moral obligation to make the world and the industry a better place. There’s always a more clever way to tell your story than producing something that causes hurt.
The clever way is always more effective. Not only will a positive solution be safer, it will be more effective on your bottom line. Brand love equals brand loyalty equals repeat purchasers.
So how do you stop these mistakes or faux pas from occurring?
Research baby! Research your target demographic. Get to know them. Talk to them. And listen to them.
Diversity. So many agencies and companies have a bunch of white men at the top. It’s usually not intentional malice, but it’s no wonder that they don’t foresee issues. Note: as well as diversity you also need an environment where everyone is confident to speak their mind.
User testing. Run your content by your audience. Ask their opinion.
Build strong brand values and a brand essence. Hold all your content up against these. Does it align?
All brands make mistakes from time to time – it’s gonna happen. This ain’t a science! The best way to deal is to apologise, fix any wrongs and move on. But definitely don’t view these mistakes as positive publicity. Learn from them and grow your brand in a positive way.