Sometimes, bad publicity is inevitable. Even when you and your organisation behave responsibly, you always run the small risk of an unexpected PR disaster. In the information age, bad publicity can reach the masses before you can even mount a defense.
The only thing worse than having your image tarnished in the public light after you’ve done everything within your power to protect yourself is to find out you’re the one who caused the disaster. For every rogue employee saying something stupid to the media, there’s a poor senior-level decision being made.
What to do when your business gets bad publicity
Respond quickly, honestly and decisively. Don’t get defensive. If you are in the wrong, it’s vital to own up and apologise. Never say “no comment” – it sends the message that you are in the wrong but feel no remorse – and the press may keep digging for dirt. Face up to the situation and you can begin to restore the reputation of your business.
Do you want to drink a venti double mocha skinny chai latte? Do you even know what that is? I don’t. We found in a customer survey that 70% of shoppers were also confused by the choices (and their obscure names) on store’s café menu.
Resisting the urge to add customer choice allows shoppers to enjoy more time savouring their coffee and less time “playing coffee Cluedo”. While there may be some customers who want the complicated drink names, (it’s not that important to them) the majority would prefer simplicity.
A recent research shows that less choice more often than not leads to a lower effort service experience. When customers are faced with outcomes for a service experience, 84% chose something other than choice, a low-effort experience.
Packaging plays an important role as a medium in the marketing mix, in promotion campaigns, as a pricing criterion, in defining the character of new products, as a setter of trends and as an instrument to create brand identity and shelf impact in all product groups.
The findings of our recent survey about this subject present new arguments and evidence confirming a central conviction held by the packaging industry: that the shopper appreciates and in fact explicitly wants to receive stimulation for the buying decision he is making when standing in front of the supermarket shelf, often even preferring this to other forms of communication. He is keen to be informed and inspired, tempted and pampered by surprising and persuasive functions, emotions and sensual impressions.
Brand names, logos, and slogans are integral parts of any company’s marketing message. All have the same aim: to make consumers react positively to a product or a business. Our research shows, however, that many slogans backfire—for example, causing consumers to spend money when they’re told they can save, or vice versa.
In five studies of several hundred undergraduates each, in which computers were used to simulate shopping behaviour, we found that consumers typically follow the prompt of a brand name or a logo.
Marketers surpass consumers in their daily use of e-mail, texting and social platforms. A whopping 93 percent of marketers have made a purchase as a direct result of an e-mail marketing message, while only 49 percent of online consumers have done so.
What is the significance of this? The differences point to a fundamental fact about marketing: Your perspective may be skewed if you make assumptions about customers based on your own behaviour, rather than that of the people you want to reach. If you are operating on a different wavelength than your customers, your marketing will seem like it’s from Mars–and will not resonate with its intended audience.
Let’s take a look at some adages that can help you gain real insight into your customer base.
In today’s image-conscious society, everything is judged first by how it looks. Rebranding has become the “cure du jour” for everything from sluggish sales to increased competition and outdated products. So how well do these makeovers work?
It depends. There are times when rebranding is crucial, and times when it’s nothing short of perilous. Remember, branding should be a reflection of your company, not just a projection of what you want it to be. You must ensure that the customer experience equals the expectation, or no amount of image revamping will work, at least in the long run. Before you rebrand, there really does need to be something different about your business, product or service; unless, of course, your image never accurately reflected your company to begin with.
So you want your website to make you look big. More power to you. But the business experts I talked to recently say small is cool with customers, too.
Small businesses, they say, have a personality, flavour and sensibility that big businesses can’t match. And when it comes to what you put on your website, they urge: Don’t be afraid to tout your smallness. Small businesses can have more fun with their sites. A small-business site needs to include something that reflects the creativity and personality of its owner.
These days it is rare to find a business niche that is not already over saturated, however you don’t need to come up with a new concept to be different. Little tweaks here and there can make you stand out from the crowd and give you a great chance to be successful from the first day.
Shout about your USP (unique selling point) from day one
This may sound obvious but all too often I see and hear about new businesses starting up and unless I really delve into their website I don’t actually know what makes them different, what sets them apart from the competition. Use all your PR channels to shout from the roof tops about your USP(s).
We’ve all witnessed it – the seemingly overnight success of some startups that begs the question “what am I doing wrong here?” Is it the idea? The timing? The commitment? Why do some companies transform into breakout brands, while others struggle along?
In my 25 plus years of working with entrepreneurs and startups, I’ve noticed three similarities between the companies that skyrocket vs. the ones that sputter out. Here are three ingredients that will fortify your brand for immediate growth.
When someone mentions social media as a business tool, most people think of Facebook and Twitter. Because it’s a video platform, YouTube may not initially seem like a suitable platform for marketing a business—but I believe that if used the right way, your business can definitely benefit from it.
Many global companies, like Coca-Cola, Nike, Google, Intel and Microsoft, choose to use the same brand name in multiple countries.
This is not possible for every brand, but it can often be an advantage. Think of the degree to which a single brand name simplifies marketing and increases return on advertising investment. By comparison, how much more would one of these companies need to spend to achieve the same results with a different localised brand name in every market?
Know the competition. Find out who your competitors are, what they are offering and what their unique selling point (USP) is. This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you a platform for differentiating yourself.
Know your customers. Customer expectations can change dramatically when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now – is it lower price, more flexible service, the latest products? Revise your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.