Right here right now
PR used to be about giving considered responses for your clients and launching timely, targeted campaigns. However with instant media gratification available online, the public is no longer willing to wait. Everyone wants their news and updates right here and right now!
If there is a sniff of a story, the first thing most people will do is to Google it or check out Twitter. It is important to be aware that news no longer waits and companies need to be prepared to answer the impatient call of their customers and the wider general public should an issue arise.
Working with a good PR company is like taking an insurance policy. They will be experts in providing quick responses and will know what to say and how the situation should best be handled. Companies can work with a PR agency to have statements prepared that could be crucial to ‘buy time’. Rather than saying ‘no comment’ which the public perceive to be, in some cases, an admission of guilt, a brief statement saying: “We are looking into the matter and are working with the appropriate agencies,” holds much more weight and shows that you are in charge of the situation.
How you respond can dramatically affect your reputation in the long run. There are some cases of companies getting it so right, straight away, such as Sainsbury’s who wrote to a little three year old girl who questioned the naming of Tiger Bread in a personal manner and even renamed the product Giraffe Bread as per her suggestion. This trended on social media sites and featured heavily in offline press too. Similarly Lego took a personal approach to a child’s tweet about losing a Ninjago figure and this went viral very quickly showing Lego to be a likeable and proactive brand.
There is no doubt that lessons have been learnt by companies since disastrous responses such as when United Airlines broke a passenger’s guitar. Dave Carroll’s response to the airline’s customer services demonstrated clearly that the power has shifted to the consumer. He wrote and performed a ‘United Breaks Guitar’ song depicting his experience which received more than 13 million views and even reached number one in the iTunes store. United Airlines’ stock reportedly fell by 10% with an actual cost to shareholders of more than one hundred million dollars.
Today we talk even more but our words and thoughts can spread like wildfire on social networking sites and how companies react or comment in general or to something specific can be game-changing.
A good PR company can help you to respond quickly, engage and converse but with caution and experience - particularly online. Where appropriate, they will advise you to bring conversations offline, if possible, but if they continue to play out online and in the media, they will be able to arm you with thoughtful and considered responses, which are imperative for the long-term success of your brand and business.
You can contact Suzie Fisher of dcp strategic communication, who is available right here, right now, by the following methods.
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