The effect of a PR crisis on a brand can be severe and long-lasting, as it can lead to a loss of customer trust and loyalty, damage to the company’s credibility, and a decline in sales and revenue.
In today’s age of social media, a PR crisis can quickly go viral and spread across multiple channels, amplifying the negative impact on the brand. Many top brands have been faced with PR crisis of varying degrees; while some were able to recover from it thanks to its swift and effective PR intervention, others have met their demise due to a lack of effective utilization of public relations strategies to address and resolve issues.
In April 2018, two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for a friend. After being told only paying customers could use the restroom when the men asked to use one, they sat back to wait for their friend without ordering anything. The manager however, called the police and had the men arrested for trespassing. No charges were filed but the incident sparked protests and garnered national attention.
To prevent the crisis from escalating, Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson apologized personally for the incident, and said the arrest “should not have happened.” The company added that the manager who ordered the arrest no longer worked at the store and announced that there will be racial bias training for all employees the next month.
Although the protests and calls for boycott didn’t affect sales for that month, The company was estimated to have lost about $12 million following the closure of 8000 Starbucks stores on May 29th for racial bias training for employees. This figure, however high, would have been more if a swift and effective PR strategy hadn’t been deployed.
Unfortunately, there are still businesses that have failed to grasp the significant impact of effective PR, and the potential consequences neglecting it can have on the brand’s growth and sustainability.
Effective public relations is a critical component of any successful brand strategy and should be implemented from the early stages of a business. However, in cases where a brand has not prioritized PR, it may become their only recourse when faced with challenges. In such situations, a well-executed PR plan can be the key to overcoming obstacles and achieving success.
We have compiled a list of red flags that indicate it is time for your brand to take proactive PR steps. These amongst many others, are signs that your brand may urgently need a PR intervention:
- CONSTANT NEGATIVE PUBLICITY:In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, it only takes a single negative review or a social media post to damage a brand’s reputation. If your brand is receiving negative publicity, whether it be from customer complaints, media coverage, or social media backlash, it’s time for a PR intervention.
A positive reputation, we know, is vital for any brand’s success and since no brand is immune to crises, one of the most significant roles of PR is to manage a crisis that threatens a brand’s reputation. With a well-crafted PR strategy, brands can not only address negative comments but also establish a positive perception among their target audience.
By being proactive and addressing the issue head-on, your brand can demonstrate its commitment to transparency and accountability, minimize the negative impact of a crisis, regain trust and even turn the crisis into an opportunity to strengthen its reputation.
- DECLINING SALES OR BRAND AWARENESS:
The primary objective of a business is to maximize sales. This is achieved by effectively promoting your brand and increasing its visibility in the market, as higher brand awareness directly translates to increased sales.
Declining sales and low brand awareness indicate that your brand might need a PR intervention to jolt its sales. When sales decline, it can be an indicator that customers are losing interest in your products or services.
This decline in sales or brand awareness can serve as a warning sign to evaluate your public relations strategy and implement any necessary adjustments. It is important to approach this situation with a professional mindset in order to effectively address any issues and improve your brand’s overall performance.
- LACK OF MEDIA COVERAGE:
When a brand receives favorable coverage in the media, it can increase brand awareness, build trust and credibility with consumers, and enhance the brand’s image. Positive media coverage can also lead to increased sales and revenue, as more consumers are likely to purchase from a brand that they perceive as reputable and trustworthy.
Additionally, positive media coverage can help a brand stand out in a crowded marketplace and differentiate itself from competitors. By working closely with the media, PR can help your brand secure positive coverage and ensure that its message reaches the right audience.
When a brand is not covered positively or not covered at all in the media, it can lose its relevance and fail to reach its target audience.
So, if your brand is not getting the media coverage it needs to stay relevant and top of mind, that’s a sign to invest in a PR strategy that can help you get the attention you need.
- LACK OF BRAND DIFFERENTIATION:
Is your brand struggling to stand out in the market? If yes, you don’t need another sign to tell you it’s time to get serious with your PR.
In today’s crowded marketplace, it is essential for brands to differentiate themselves in order to leave a lasting impact on their target audience. While there may be similar brands vying for consumer attention and loyalty, those that are able to rise above the crowd and establish a distinct identity are the ones best poised for success.
Brands that make the extra effort to distinguish themselves from competitors through proper PR strategies position themselves as leaders in their respective industries and build strong, enduring relationships with their customers.
- POOR SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT:
If your brand’s social media engagement is low or non-existent, it’s time to invest in a social media PR strategy that can help you build a stronger online presence, and connect and interact with your target audience.
Poor social media engagement can have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation and success. It can signal to potential customers that your brand is not interesting or relevant, leading to decreased trust and fewer sales.
It can also result in missed opportunities to engage with customers and address their concerns, which can lead to negative reviews and damage to your brand’s image. A lack of engagement can also lead to a decrease in social media algorithm visibility, making it more challenging to reach your target audience.
PR is an investment in your brand’s long-term success, and brands that prioritize PR are more likely to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace. By taking PR seriously and investing in a well-thought-out PR plan, your brand can build a positive reputation, manage crises effectively, engage with customers, and increase sales.
If your brand is exhibiting any of these indicators, it is advisable to convene a meeting with your PR team or engage the services of a seasoned PR/marketing agency. This will enable your brand to develop effective strategies that will enhance its visibility and allow it to overcome any challenges.
If you do not identify with any of the aforementioned indicators, that is commendable. Nonetheless, it is important to note that you should not delay in giving your brand’s public relations the attention it deserves. A proactive approach towards PR can prevent potential issues and promote positive brand perception. Like the saying goes: “A stitch in time saves nine.”
We have a team of PR and marketing experts skilled in helping businesses and brands stay at the top of their industries with proper and effective PR strategies. Click here – PR and let’s help your brand today.