tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/online-pr Latest Online PR content from Econsultancy 2017-05-15T11:00:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69088 2017-05-15T11:00:00+01:00 2017-05-15T11:00:00+01:00 A day in the life of… Assistant PR Manager for VisitScotland Nikki Gilliland <p><strong><em>Econsultancy:</em></strong> <strong>Please describe your job. What do you do?</strong></p> <p><em>Juliane Frank:</em> As Assistant PR Manager for Northern Europe, I work with European media to ensure Scotland gets as prominent a place as possible in their coverage, thus inspiring potential visitors to choose Scotland as a holiday destination. </p> <p>My job is extremely varied – tasks can range from traditional PR to the development and implementation of integrated campaigns, which perform not only from a PR perspective, but also on a social and digital level.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6042/scotspirit.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="519"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em>JF:</em> I sit within the Consumer PR team which is part of Global Brand &amp; Communications, and I report to Marie Coulon who looks after Consumer PR for the whole of Europe.  </p> <h4> <em><strong>E:</strong></em> What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role and in travel/tourism?</h4> <p><em>JF:</em> I’d say a digital background is helpful. Before moving into my current role, I worked within the digital marketing team at VisitScotland. This has proven to be very useful at a time when the two fields are becoming more and more intertwined. It is exciting to see the impact an online article with a link to VisitScotland can have on visits to our website right away on Google Analytics. </p> <p>Then in terms of market knowledge and language skills – knowing my market(s) is vital to my role at VisitScotland. Being a German national myself, I bring valuable insight on consumer behaviour as well as the media landscape of one of our key markets to the team. On territory networking with media is extremely important for our relationships so my colleagues and I travel to our respective markets several times a year. </p> <p>The world of PR is also very dynamic which means that we have to continuously find new, creative ways to communicate with our key audiences. Scotland as a tourist destination is up against hundreds of other countries – it is up to us, the wider marketing team at VisitScotland, to make sure Scotland is front of mind with potential visitors. </p> <p>Communications is at the heart of what I do. I communicate with a wide range of people every day, from other teams within the organisation to media representatives and the Scottish industry.</p> <p>Lastly, passion for the product. This is very easy when the product is as stunning as Scotland! </p> <h4> <em>E</em>: Tell us about a typical working day… </h4> <p><em>JF</em>: No two days are ever the same in my role. Unusual enquiries can come in at any moment and short reaction times are key when working with media. </p> <p>A day could involve any or all of the following - responding to media enquiries, brainstorming with the team on creative campaigns for next year’s themed year, adapting press releases, pitching journalists for an upcoming group press trip, identifying top bloggers/influencers to work with on upcoming campaigns, and meeting with colleagues in The Highlands to find the perfect place for a TV crew to film. </p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em>JF:</em> I love being able to promote a product that I care so much about. I fell in love with Scotland during my Erasmus semester and feel very lucky to not only live here now, but also share my passion for the country with media every day. </p> <p>We always try to respond positively to enquiries and help with requests for press visits as best as we can. However, the sheer number of requests we receive on a daily basis makes it impossible to offer everyone the same level of support. Having to say no to some of them can suck.  </p> <h4> <em>E</em>: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success? </h4> <p><em>JF</em>: Our main goal is achieving inspirational coverage about Scotland that will make people want to visit. Targets include a certain number of pieces of coverage in A-list media as well as a certain number of pieces of coverage featuring at least one of our key messages. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Rowallan Castle, which dates back to the 16 century, is looking pretty good for its age IG/hisashikuboyama <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HHA2017?src=hash">#HHA2017</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EastAyrshire?src=hash">#EastAyrshire</a> <a href="https://t.co/o4b8AI0tcL">pic.twitter.com/o4b8AI0tcL</a></p> — VisitScotland (@VisitScotland) <a href="https://twitter.com/VisitScotland/status/862595894256054273">May 11, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>We contribute to advocacy and positive sentiment in all channels and make sure we get coverage for content that will drive our discovery planning and search strategy. Our activity with influencers and online media is key in that respect and we work closely with our colleagues in SEO. Campaigns like our St Andrew’s Day video have been a great success on social. </p> <h4> <em>E</em>: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em>JF</em>: My favourite ‘tool’ is my team. We are a friendly bunch of people with diverse backgrounds and different nationalities. We take the time to reflect on the kind of team we want to be and try out new strategies to become more efficient on a regular basis. Everyone in the team is allowed to call one ad hoc 10 minute meeting every week – the team drop whatever they were doing, come together and brainstorm the problem. </p> <h4> <em>E</em>: How did you get started in marketing, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em>JF</em>: I started as a trainee in PR/marketing at a German last minute tour operator after university and have been loyal to the tourism sector ever since – what could be better than promoting everyone’s favourite time of the year? </p> <h4> <em>E</em>: Which brands do you think are doing digital well?</h4> <p><em>JF:</em> LEGO are fantastic at creating digital PR campaigns that achieve a great level of awareness and consumer engagement. In tourism, Airbnb’s partnership with The Art Institute of Chicago to recreate Van Gogh’s bedroom and the resulting coverage worldwide has impressed me a lot. </p> <h4> <em>E</em>: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in marketing?</h4> <p><em>JF</em>: Embrace change – marketing &amp; PR are evolving at a rapid pace and you have to stay on the ball if you want to keep up with them. This might be challenging at times, but it also ensures that your job never gets boring.</p> <p><strong><em>More on VisitScotland:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69052-how-visitscotland-is-transforming-the-traditional-tourist-body/">How VisitScotland is transforming the traditional tourist body</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68849-three-reasons-to-appreciate-visitscotland-s-tourism-website/">Three reasons to appreciate VisitScotland's website</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68978 2017-04-13T01:00:00+01:00 2017-04-13T01:00:00+01:00 Three brands recently 'shamed' in China and how others can avoid a similar fate Jeff Rajeck <p>Last August, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68232-china-introduces-far-reaching-new-internet-ad-law-why-it-matters/">Econsultancy warned brands advertising in China</a> to become familiar with new advertising legislation in the country.</p> <p>In particular, they needed to know that <strong>the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce is looking for exaggerations and falsehoods in ads</strong>, especially for companies that sell health-related or financial products.</p> <p>Brands in China should also be aware of the TV show known as '315' which names and shames firms on national television for stretching the truth, including large brands such as Apple and Volkswagen in previous years.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5330/1.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="450"></p> <p>Here are the stories of three companies that fell foul of the examiners in March of this year and what other brands can do to avoid the same thing happening to them.</p> <h3>1. Blackmores (Australia)</h3> <p>Blackmores is a manufacturer and distributer of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements. <strong>It has also had enormous success in China with double-digit growth over the past two years</strong> and sales of over A$100m in 2016.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5332/3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="440"></p> <p>One <a href="http://readysetgochina.com.au/blackmores-success-hiccups-with-china-the-real-reason/">overview of the brand's strategy</a> in the country says that Blackmores has been successful in China because of its strategy on China's biggest social chat platform, WeChat.</p> <p>Yet it seems that WeChat was also the cause of the brand's recent shaming.</p> <p><a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/blackmores-fined-65000-in-china-for-false-claims/news-story/200cac6b72cf60609d80e3754a01a9de">According to the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce</a>, the company's advertising on WeChat claimed that its products could 'prevent and cure cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and arthritis'. Additionally, the bureau noted that Blackmores made an unsupported claim to be "the No 1 Australian nutritious product brand." </p> <p>As a result of violating the new advertising laws, <strong>the firm was fined RMB346,600 (around US$50,000) and consumers were entitled to claim three times the price they paid for comparative products as compensation.</strong></p> <p>If the brand or its agency had reviewed the law before advertising, it would have read that <a href="http://hk.lexiscn.com/law/interim-measures-for-the-administration-of-internet-advertising.html">Article 6 bans the advertisement of medical treatments unless it has been examined by the 'advertising examination authority'</a>.</p> <p>While the law does not indicate how to seek approval, brands should learn from this incident and seek legal advice before advertising products with health benefits or medical treatments and ensure they are not violating current legislation.</p> <h3>2. Nike (USA)</h3> <p>Like in the rest of the world, Nike is a very popular footwear brand in China and more that 10% of the brand's global sales are in the country.</p> <p>Recently, though, the TV show '315' (so named because March 15th is World Consumer Rights Day) found that 300 of its Hyperdunk sneakers were advertised as having 'Zoom Air' airbags. Yet when the shoes were cut open, <strong>no 'airbags' were found. </strong>315 proceeded to name and shame Nike on its most recent programme.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5331/2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="500"></p> <p>According to industry experts, it's unlikely that there will be any legal implications due to this error. Nike has, however, <a href="http://www.campaignasia.com/article/nike-muji-targeted-in-china-consumer-rights-expose/434712">admitted fault</a> and "will fully cooperate with the government regulators regarding their inquiries." When asked about the gravity of the incident, the CEO of H+K Strategies in China said that "the damage is more to [Nike's] public image."</p> <p>So what can brands do to avoid a similar situation?</p> <p>While it is highly unlikely that a brand the size of Nike's could ever ensure that 100% of its products were absolutely to the advertised standard, other brands can still learn from the experience.</p> <p>First off, <strong>marketers should note how far '315' will go in order to challenge a claim made in an ad</strong> and so they should be careful about making grandiose statements.</p> <p>Other <strong>brands should also learn from how Nike handled this issue.</strong> It was clear that Nike had a PR response ready to go and did not dig the brand in deeper by hesitating or trying to explain it away. The truth may hurt, but it's best to suffer it quickly rather than letting it get out of hand.</p> <h3>3. Muji (Japan)</h3> <p>Muji, the Japanese household items, stationery, and apparel brand, was also shamed on the most recent broadcast of the consumer watch show '315'. The company was accused of importing food into China from an area of Tokyo where high levels of radiation were detected in 2015.</p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5333/4.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="400"></strong></p> <p>Unlike Nike, Muji's parent company Ryohin Keikaku quickly announced that <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/076736c8-0d42-11e7-b030-768954394623">the firm was not selling products in China from any areas affected by radiation.</a> This claim was subsequently confirmed by the Financial Times who backed up the claim that <strong>the address in question was the food company's headquarters, not where the food was grown.</strong></p> <p>Again, there is little that Muji could have done to avoid the accusation as memories of nuclear contamination from the Fukushima disaster are still very clear in consumers' minds. </p> <p><strong>The lesson from this episode is that Chinese consumers are very sensitive to food safety issues.</strong> There are numerous cultural reasons for this but another important factor is that, in 2008, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal">six infants died from infant formula which was intentionally tampered with</a> and at least another 50,000 were hospitalized.  </p> <p>After such a scare, it is unsurprising that food safety is still of great concern in the country and so <strong>any brand that sells food in any capacity needs to be extra careful about the quality and safety of their product.</strong></p> <p>Muji will probably suffer unnecessarily from the accusations but, again, it was smart to address the issue head on through rapid crisis response.</p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>China and its billion or so consumers are a tempting target for many Western brands. In order to become and remain successful, though, <strong>companies need to understand the many quirks of the markets and to be prepared to manage the fallout if they make a mistake. </strong></p> <p>For most brands, this will mean working with a local partner who will ensure that the company doesn't commit any egregious mistakes but <strong>brand marketers should also become familiar with the law and institutions such as the '315' TV programme as well.</strong></p> <p>Doing so will hopefully keep their company from 'losing face' in the country and a subsequent humiliation, and expensive, retreat.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3215 2017-03-21T12:34:35+00:00 2017-03-21T12:34:35+00:00 Social Media Paid Advertising <p>Need help with your social media advertising?</p> <p>We're a long way away from the heady days when social media was 'free' (well, if significant resource and time was ever free….)</p> <p>As social media platforms evolve and 'organic' visibility decreases in our social media feeds, brands and organisations must consider ways to increase their presence and optimise goal conversions through social advertising. Fail to put an effective strategy in place and you can end up simply throwing your money away.</p> <p>This course covers the essentials of creative, successful social media advertising campaigns. We'll explore best-practice campaigns and tools and techniques for writing copy, bidding strategy, and aligning your paid, owned and earned social activity.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3214 2017-03-21T12:33:37+00:00 2017-03-21T12:33:37+00:00 Social Media Paid Advertising <p>Need help with your social media advertising?</p> <p>We're a long way away from the heady days when social media was 'free' (well, if significant resource and time was ever free….)</p> <p>As social media platforms evolve and 'organic' visibility decreases in our social media feeds, brands and organisations must consider ways to increase their presence and optimise goal conversions through social advertising. Fail to put an effective strategy in place and you can end up simply throwing your money away.</p> <p>This course covers the essentials of creative, successful social media advertising campaigns. We'll explore best-practice campaigns and tools and techniques for writing copy, bidding strategy, and aligning your paid, owned and earned social activity.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3211 2017-03-21T12:31:04+00:00 2017-03-21T12:31:04+00:00 Social Media & Online PR <p>This one-day course is the UK’s most popular introduction to online PR and social media marketing.</p> <p>You'll be able to plan and implement your ideal strategy using user-generated content, including monitoring positive and negative brand perception through tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and increasing brand engagement.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3210 2017-03-21T12:30:10+00:00 2017-03-21T12:30:10+00:00 Social Media & Online PR <p>This one-day course is the UK’s most popular introduction to online PR and social media marketing.</p> <p>You'll be able to plan and implement your ideal strategy using user-generated content, including monitoring positive and negative brand perception through tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and increasing brand engagement.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3190 2017-03-21T11:54:10+00:00 2017-03-21T11:54:10+00:00 Online Community Management <p>With so many free and low cost tools and channels it's never been easier to create online communities. But do you have a strategy and a thorough understanding of the dynamics of communities at the different stages of a community lifecycle?</p> <p>Are you comfortable with aligning your community to business and departmental objectives and do you have solid cross-departmental processes in place? Have you chosen appropriate tools and can your content and community engagement be described as best practice?</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68747 2017-01-30T11:47:08+00:00 2017-01-30T11:47:08+00:00 From buzzword to bullsh*t: celebrating 144 years of ‘influencer marketing’ Ian McKee <p>Yeah, you read that right — 1873. Jules Verne, a hugely influential author, was known to be writing another adventure novel <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement#Origins">when he was lobbied by transport companies for mentions</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps if Jules had been a millennial, then ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ would have been an Instagram Story featuring definitely-not-awkward contract-fulfilling selfies taken on the Orient Express. </p> <p>I’m sure the world would have been a richer place. </p> <h3>New tricks for old dogs</h3> <p>You can see my point, through the dripping sarcasm — <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">influencer marketing</a> is not a new thing. </p> <p>In the decade I’ve been in PR, I’ve been involved in activity that today you might term ‘influencer marketing’ from day one. And I’m a relative whippersnapper compared to the transport industry lobbyists of the 1870s. </p> <p>It goes like this — this person holds sway over our audience. Give them free stuff, or some other compensation, to talk about our brand. Bingo, consider that audience influenced. </p> <p>Coining new terms for old tactics is something we love doing in the internet age. Look at fake news (or, propaganda), <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63722-what-is-native-advertising-and-do-you-need-it/">native advertising</a> (what we used to call advertorial) and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content marketing</a> (all marketing involves content, people). </p> <p>Just because the media has changed immeasurably doesn’t mean the ways we use it have. And influencer marketing is another buzzword coined more for tech companies to sell software than it is to describe anything new. </p> <h3>Rule of diminished returns</h3> <p>Which isn’t to say it’s not of value. There’s a reason marketers have been using this tactic for over a century. </p> <p>However, gaining buzzword status has inevitable negative effects. Just as in B2B content marketing when it started getting harder and harder to attract attention to your latest white paper, if everyone’s employing the same tactic then the rule of diminishing returns comes into play. </p> <p>In the case of influencer marketing, if it continues to grow there are only two routes we’ll plausibly go down.</p> <p>The first is a world where literally everyone’s an influencer to some degree. Like in the Black Mirror episode <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5497778/">Nosedive</a>, whether you can live in a certain place, buy your coffee from a certain café or do a certain job will all depend on your influencer score. Social media armageddon, basically.</p> <p>The second (and far more likely) outcome is a backlash. Consumer cynicism reaches the point where your average Instagram user can spot a plug from a mile off, and the returns of influencer marketing are significantly diminished. </p> <p>I think it’s fairly obvious that we’re approaching the second outcome right now. Stories like <a href="http://digiday.com/agencies/confessions-social-media-exec-no-idea-pay-influencers/">confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing</a>, or from the other side, Bloomberg’s <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-11-30/confessions-of-an-instagram-influencer">confessions of an Instagram influencer</a> show the cracks are forming. </p> <h3>Gaming the system</h3> <p>Of course, I’m aware of the long tail argument — don’t pay over the odds for a superstar ‘influencer’, go with the person that has 10,000 genuinely engaged followers, or even 1,000 but they’re all actual friends and acquaintances. </p> <p>There’s Brian Solis's ‘<a href="http://www.briansolis.com/2012/03/the-pillars-of-influence-and-how-to-activate-them-in-business/">Pillars of Influence</a>’ — reach, relevance and resonance. Make sure your strategy is balanced. </p> <p>The problem is that at the moment, consumers are becoming more cynical, destroying the trust that these pillars are founded on. And this is not helped by the fast-growing phenomenon of the self-made influencer — those that are gaming the system. </p> <p>As any social media guru knows, you can game followers, likes and shares, and plenty of self-proclaimed ‘influencers’ are doing just that. All this makes it harder for any software tool to tell true influence.</p> <h3>Human intuition</h3> <p>Cue influx of software vendors protesting that their tool is super intelligent and can weed out the bogus influencers. </p> <p>I’m sure some of them do, to some degree. But just as in the earlier days of influencer marketing when it was just choosing which media outlets to send a product to, human intuition and experience come into play. </p> <p>I would always tell clients that when choosing media targets that circulation (reach) was one metric, audience (relevance) was another, but so was our own intuition and knowledge. And not just in ‘resonance’ — that should come from the story, the message, or the content. </p> <p>I’m talking about understanding who really knows what they’re talking about and commands attention on a topic. </p> <p>For this there’s no substitute for reading, interacting with and working with the media full time. And the same applies whether you’re talking about a steel industry trade mag or a health and fitness Instagrammer. </p> <h3>‘Influencer marketing’ won’t die</h3> <p>As much as I wish the buzzword would disappear, at the very least the practice will continue. But hopefully it will be <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/05/26/more-must-be-done-to-educate-brands-on-online-ad-rules-says-asa/">under better-observed regulations</a>, and with growing consumer cynicism the market will bottom out to a more measured approach. </p> <p>If you’re planning an influencer outreach programme anytime soon, obviously you won’t just cream off the top 10 Instagrammers using a relevant hashtag. But hopefully, you also won’t just use what your fancy software’s proprietary algorithm tells you are the top 10 either. </p> <p>By all means take those factors into account, but also spend time reading and reviewing content, understand the audience you want to reach and work transparently with people you know they’ll trust. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/934 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 Digital Marketing Template Files Econsultancy <h3>Overview</h3> <p><strong>Digital Marketing Template Files</strong></p> <p><strong>Authors:</strong></p> <ul> <li>James Gurd, Owner and Lead Consultant, <a title="Digital Juggler" href="http://digitaljuggler.com/">Digital Juggler</a> </li> <li>Ben Matthews, Director, <a title="Montfort" href="http://montfort.io/">Montfort</a> </li> <li>Ger Ashby, Head of Creative Services, <a title="Dotmailer" href="https://www.dotmailer.com/">Dotmailer</a> </li> <li><a title="Starcom Mediavest Group" href="http://smvgroup.com/">Starcom Mediavest Group</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.searchlaboratory.com/">Search Laboratory</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Files available:</strong> 10 file bundles, 50+ individual template files<br></p> <p><strong>File titles:</strong> See sample document for full breakdown of section and file information.</p> <h3>About these files</h3> <p>Need help with an area of digital marketing and don't know where to start? This pack of downloadable files contains best practice templates that you can use in your digital marketing activities. Feel free to adapt them to suit your needs.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jxKmQGxspc8?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Contents</h3> <p>In this release we have 10 template bundles containing over 50 individual template files for digital marketing projects.</p> <p><strong>Download separate file bundles below:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Affiliate Marketing</li> <li>Content Marketing</li> <li>Display Advertising </li> <li>Ecommerce Projects</li> <li>Email Marketing</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: PPC</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: SEO</li> <li>Social Media and Online PR</li> <li>Usability and User Experience</li> <li>Web Analytics</li> </ul> <p><strong>The template files bundle also includes a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/small-business-online-resource-manager/">Small Business Online Resource Manager</a> that </strong><strong>can help you effectively manage and own your online assets.</strong></p> <p><strong>There's a free guide which you can download to find out more about exactly what is included.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68381 2016-10-14T15:57:59+01:00 2016-10-14T15:57:59+01:00 Why marketers should adjust their social media crisis response to fit their brand's identity Arliss Coates <p>These are best resolved by mixing timing, tact, and sincerity in a neatly delivered apology.</p> <p>However, standard apologies don’t always cut it.</p> <p>A successful response to an outcry should depend not only on the particular situation faced but on the identity of the apologizing company in the minds of its customers. </p> <p>A brand with a reputation for audacity should not offer the sort of grovelling apology expected from more conventional companies.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oYOZ3IzRaf4?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>Know your organization’s image - it’s critical to crafting the proper response to a bout of negative public attention.</p> <p>Most of the problems organizations encounter when attempting to deal with negative social media publicity begin with a lack of preparation.</p> <p>Whether you’re Vice Magazine or Astra-Zenica, it will pay to have formed an attitude to adversity – if not the response itself – to be applied in the event of a social media disaster.</p> <p>This will prevent the sort of scrambled response seen from companies like <a title="Applebees" href="http://gawker.com/5980816/applebees-responds-to-fired-server-scandal-claims-waitress-disregarded-a-company-policy-that-gets-disregarded-all-the-time">Applebees</a> and HMV, and will ensure a swifter end to damaging criticism.</p> <h3><strong>Know your company’s image</strong></h3> <p>And be honest. Customers confronting an erring company online do so with a slew of pre-formed perceptions and prejudices.</p> <p>A misdeed by a major bank, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68407-the-five-things-every-company-can-learn-from-the-wells-fargo-scandal/">such as Wells Fargo</a>, will be judged more harshly than a popular charity's misstep, so prepare responses and expectations accordingly.</p> <h3><strong>Don’t let them see you sweat</strong></h3> <p>It never pays to panic.</p> <p>Organizations that <a href="http://thesocialmediamonthly.com/what-does-deleting-negative-comments-say-about-your-brand/">delete negative comments</a> during a social media scandal or engage in online bickering with dissatisfied customers do not fare well, historically speaking.</p> <p>Part of the reason for this is the simple inefficiency of pursuing individual criticisms; more importantly, such behaviour makes the organization in question look defensive and childish, and therefore probably wrong.</p> <p>It has become a marketing axiom that non-apologies and outright dismissals of public complaints can cause harm to a company taking abuse online.</p> <p>This is despite the fact that, most of the time, the marketers are correct.</p> <p>Consider Nestle’s <a title="Nestle" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nestles-facebook-page-how-a-company-can-really-screw-up-social-media/">defensive bickering</a> with a Facebook critic or the now-legendary online <a title="Amy's Bakery" href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/this-is-the-most-epic-brand-meltdown-on-facebook-ever">meltdown</a> of the restauranteurs behind Amy’s Bakery.  </p> <p>In the case of the former, a prickly Nestle employee engaged several Facebook followers in an argument over a request the brand had made of posters to its page, asking that they not use an altered version of the Nestle logo to comment under.</p> <p>Though probably correct, all this anonymous employee achieved was a disavowal of future patronage by several Nestle customers, and the company was left looking both petty and demanding.</p> <p><img src="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/galleries/2011/technology/1104/gallery.social_media_controversies/images/nestle.jpg" alt="Nestle's Facebook page gets oily"></p> <p>Regardless, some leaders have built brands out of committing PR no-no’s, and it’s important to understand how they’ve accomplished this feat, and why your company may or may not be able to pull it off as well.</p> <p>In order to classify the wide world of company identities, I’ve created a simple corporate taxonomy; find out where yours lies in <strong>this three-part system:</strong></p> <h3>1. The Badgers</h3> <p>The only ones who get to have any fun.</p> <p>RyanAir and The Onion find themselves here; with an established reputation for surly indifference and good humor, respectively, they seem to get away with a lot.</p> <p>The benefits of self-reproach are not clear; quick lessons from Steve Jobs and RyanAir CEO Michael O’Leary:</p> <h4>Steve Jobs </h4> <p>Contrition doesn’t suit everybody. True to badger form, the late Jobs was known for his unwillingness to apologize for even substantial Apple mistakes.</p> <p>On the occasions when Jobs would address a complaint, such as the one following Apple’s rapid $200 price slash of the iPhone (angering buyers who felt they had overspent for their copies of the phone) the <a title="Jobs Apology" href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB118910651781519626">press</a> would note the rarity of a Jobs apology.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0375/Apple_logo.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="398"></p> <p>Confidence in the face of criticism only bolstered the Steve Jobs image, which was – and remains – one of visionary boldness, whilst imparting weight to the few concessions Jobs was willing to make.</p> <h4>Michael O’Leary</h4> <p>As the professional wrestler of the airline industry, the irreverent O’Leary has carved a brand out of foul language and a <a href="https://skift.com/2012/09/05/ryanair-boss-michael-oleary-gives-best-quotes-in-the-industry/">gleeful disregard</a> for the feelings of RyanAir customers.</p> <p>Upon reading a dissatisfied customer’s tweet objecting to having been forced to pay £350 for forgetting to print her boarding ticket, O’Leary offered to charge her an extra £60 “for being so stupid.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0374/ryanair.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="449"></p> <p>He’s a cartoon of the corporate badger type, and yet O’Leary’s eccentric approach to customer relations has come to define RyanAir beyond the bounds of normal corporate stricture, thereby inuring customers to remarks that would (metaphorically) sink a more conventional airline like BA or United.</p> <p>This may be called the “Donald Trump effect,” and should not be tried at home. </p> <p>It should, however, be noted that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65749-how-a-new-focus-on-digital-and-customer-experience-is-boosting-ryanair-s-profits/">RyanAir has made efforts to reinvent its brand image</a> in recent years, which has led to fewer headline-grabbing comments from Mr O'Leary.</p> <h3>2. The Doves </h3> <p>Not a bad thing to be.</p> <p>Consumers are generally forgiving of these beloved organizations, and sometimes express disappointment when organizations of this class apologize too quickly.</p> <p>A version of this mistake occurred when the Red Cross <a title="Red Cross" href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/health/red-cross-apologizes-for-pool-safety-poster-trnd/">swiftly retracted</a> a poster some Twitter users felt was offensive.</p> <p>The Red Cross responded with the standard prescription: Apologize and rectify.</p> <p>The Twitter response to this seemingly sensible move was resoundingly negative.</p> <p>Most expressed dismay at the knowledge that the Red Cross would be spending donation money to fix what they felt was a non-issue.</p> <p>Admittedly, the Red Cross was in a tough position in this instance, but by failing to take into account its own good reputation it missed an opportunity to disarm the anti-capitulation crowd with an even-handed response while still placating those that felt the poster was offensive.</p> <h3>3. The Vultures</h3> <p>Not a lovely category, but this is where many mega-companies (like Merrill-Lynch) find themselves.</p> <p>Unloved and hard to love, the vultures are best off <a title="Merrill Lynch" href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/banking/bank-watch-blog/article100145187.html">apologizing quickly</a> and doing their best to move on.</p> <p>Check out BP’s awful apology for the 2010 Gulf Coast Oil Spill.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_AwD_7yNzKo?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>The archetypical vulture. It repelled its target audience with an over-the-top “we’re sorry” that struck viewers as insincere.</p> <p>In this case, the public had a clear – and ungenerous – pre-existing view of one of the world’s largest oil companies.</p> <p>Attempting to persuade the world that BP felt genuine remorse by lavishing production on a YouTube video only exaggerated its image of corporate coldness.</p> <p>A straightforward, unadorned apology for and acknowledgement of the disaster would not have appeared patronising to the concerned public.</p> <h3><strong>The Takeaway?</strong></h3> <p>Marketers should craft an online persona in line with what customers expect of a company, especially for times of crisis.</p> <p>There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to crafting a response to a dissatisfied public, but customers generally prefer sincerity over remorse.</p> <p>Organizations that remember what they are know how much they can get away with (think Steve Jobs) and tend to survive these ordeals with a minimum of dignity lost in the tussle.</p> <p>Organizations like the Red Cross that forget their good-standing tend to suffer, and the Vultures that never had a good reputation to begin with… well, they do what they can.</p>