Negative publicity, fake news, bad reviews, and unkind social media posts can severely knock your brand’s reputation in a matter of minutes. Word of mouth can travel quickly to detriment your company’s standing and reputation, undoing years of hard work and, even worse, impacting your bottom line. It’s a fight companies can’t withstand without help from the experts. A situation like this demands immediate and effective action. That’s why you need a digital PR agency to solve such issues and help with online reputation management.
Even a well-known brand such as Uber needs to be on its toes in the face of negative publicity. The company is facing a string of negative press coverage regarding workplace culture, self-driving car accidents, and executive behavior. A staggering 56% of consumers surveyed claimed that they left the app after reading about the news online. It raises the question, did consumers wait until claims could be investigated or independently substantiated? Most likely, no, because consumer behavior, especially online, is sudden and immediate. This is the extent to which negative publicity can destroy your company overnight.
Moreover, in today’s time and age, negative news sells. Sensationalist news forms 95% of media headlines nowadays. The internet world has tipped the scales of power in favor of consumers, and brands are falling victim to a culture of quick shares via social media. Hence, brands must be vigilant and proactive when it comes to removing negative news articles.
The effect of negative publicity
Online information holds incredible value. And when the information is fake or negative, it can have a profound impact on a business. 90% of consumers claim they will not visit or purchase from a brand with a negative reputation. Many surveys have indicated that brands with even one negative article online stand to lose around 22% of their prospective customers. Add three to four articles, and that number skyrockets to a staggering 70%.
The possibility of loss like this leaves brands with little to no recourse to gain their customers back. Unless, of course, the brands have remained cautious about staying ahead of the story and taking the appropriate steps to prevent and remove negative links.
From a long-term perspective, negative publicity can have other severe implications like:
Damaged brand equity
Negative publicity can hit your brand equity hard, decreasing its value in the eyes of stakeholders. A piece of single news or negative review on the web can break down the consumer trust you worked incredibly hard to earn. Moreover, negative publicity leads to a negative brand association, which causes customers to avoid the brand altogether for a period. Thus, boosting brand awareness through assured media placements should be your priority. This improves the perception your audience has of your company. The more positive the perception, the more value your brand holds.
Loss of resources
Not only can negative publicity cost you externally, but internally as well. People are reluctant to apply at companies with a bad image and reputation. An alarming 71% of job seekers admit they would not apply to a company with a bad reputation in the media. This hampers your ability to recruit. It badly affects brands that are looking to scale. Prospective employees look for companies that are well-thought-of in the market and assure career stability. It’s clear; what’s on the inside counts. So, when negative publicity leads to loss of trust, brands have to ensure that trust is regained.
For most businesses, increasing revenue and churning profits is the most important objective. This is why businesses focus on improving their sales. Negative publicity may influence how buyers view your brand, an aspect that could discourage them from dealing with your business. The direct outcome of such actions would be diminishing sales, financial losses, and low revenue. Brands must always establish solutions to make sure that negative publicity does not affect sales.
How to tackle negative publicity?
The press, along with customers, competitors, and social media users, can sometimes be ruthless. Working with a digital PR agency gives your brand access to the expertise needed to combat negative publicity and the damage it can do to your brand’s reputation. A digital PR agency like Digital Nod can help to remove negative links and showcase the best of what your brand has to offer online by publishing the information you want your audience to find.
No one should be the victim of a smear campaign, and taking these steps helps those who have been unfairly targeted.