There’s a popular misconception that “all publicity is good publicity”. Many people seem to assume that as long as everyone is aware of their business, then it’s surely something to be proud of. If you were hoping this could be true, sorry to burst your bubble. That’s just not how it works in the real world.
If you’re hoping that people will keep buying from you even though you are stock-piling on dissatisfied customers; if you assume that having a negative buzz surrounding your brand will somehow turn to your advantage on the long-run… you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Paris Hilton your business is not.
Everyone knows Paris Hilton, and almost everyone seems to hate her. Regardless, her popularity is always on the rise.
The great-granddaughter to the founder of Hilton Hotels, Paris is hugely popular for all the wrong reasons. She doesn’t seem to have any particular skills or talents. Well, except for being a lewd spoiled brat who has inherited a massive fortune.
As a matter of fact, it can be argued the only reason why she is so incredibly popular is exactly because her personality is so… peculiarly scandalous. There are plenty of other rich heirs in the world, who barely ever get any media attention. But Paris Hilton is different, because she has learned how to become a figure that everyone loves hating.
She has become quite proficient and drawing attention for all the wrong reasons, and has become a celebrity over it. Like many modern icons worthy of popular cult, she seems to thrive on a negative buzz, and her popularity seems to be ever greater with every renewed scandal.
Good for her, too! But you must keep in mind that your business is nothing like hers.
Good business practice is all about spreading the positive buzz
Unless you’re in the entertainment/show business, where scandals actually help increase press coverage and public admiration, make no mistake… bad publicity is always bad publicity¬: in the sense that it’s really not good for your success, and must be avoided at all cost.
In the realms of serious business, the kind with actual customers who actually buy products and services from you, maintaining a positive reputation should be one of your prime concerns. That’s only if you’re planning to stay in business, of course.
Do not underestimate the harm that can be done by a single disgruntled customer, who sets out on a mission to advocate against your business practice. In the same way, do not underestimate the positive influence that can be afforded to your business name by a customer who is genuinely after interacting with your brand.
Success is in the eye of the beholder
Think about all the genuinely great consumer brands, in this day and age. Think Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Nike, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Visa… you name it. Do you know what these brands have in common?
They’re all about customer satisfaction. They put a lot of time, effort and resources into understanding their clients, and finding way to surpass their expectations. They always go the extra mile to make sure all publicity surrounding their brands remains as good as possible.
If a scandal arises connected to their brand, they always take swift action to tackle it and it around. Because they realize that no bad publicity is good, and so should you!