Sacha Baron Cohen’s infamous fictional character, Borat, from the 2012 film of the same title, travels to the U.S. to learn about American culture “for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan,” while at the same time inadvertently making fun of his home country. As with most of the actor’s movies, Borat was criticized for its anti-Semitic and homophobic themes, yet on the other hand, gave the former Soviet state a threefold increase in tourism.
On a different spectrum, Kenneth Cole wasn’t as lucky. When it tweeted about the ongoing uproar in Cairo, supposedly because they have heard about the availability of the brand’s 2011 spring collection, the collective reaction in media was, needless to say, swift and punishing. A day after the contentious tweet, the brand issued an apology tweet, but the damage had been done.
While both brands suffered from negative publicity, however, it is interesting to note that Borat succeeded in turning it into a lucrative opportunity. Expert reputation marketing insights highlight negative-PR management as a key component. Risks are always involved, but the proper reputation building strategy responds to these promptly and turns them into rewards.
Offense and Defense
Lee Traupel, founder of marketing firm Linked Media Group (@LinkedMedia), wrote in his Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) article “Reputation Managment Is a Necessity for on the Go Brands” about the importance of switching between offense and defense. Attack with engaging content, whether it’s an article or video, and defend by responding to complaints immediately.
Neither offense nor defense alone wins battles for positive publicity. Content that doesn’t respond to complaints and the like will give the impression of the brand not giving a flying feather. On the other hand, apologizing all the time without providing an effective solution to the recurring problem won’t make any brand better as well. In other words, it’s not just about the talk; you have to walk it, too.
Negative-PR management may be a key component, but it can only do so much alone. In her MarketingProfs (@MarketingProfs) article “Brand Reputation Management: Your Seven-Point Game Plan,” content writer Lorna Walkden believes negative-PR management must work with other key components of reputation management, which include:
- Search engine dominance
- Social media
- Customer service
- Brand advocacy
- Reviews and critiques
- Brand monitoring
These functions are already benefitting from each other’s features (e.g. social media is a fast, white-hat way to be ranked high in search engines). Be an authority on certain subjects, deal with unsatisfied customers, evaluate the brand using reviews, and push for brand exposure in social events.
Finally, stay updated regarding the latest trends and tips on reputation management by visiting reputation marketing news sites like Marketing Digest (@mktgdigest). Remember, marketing tactics don’t stay the same for long.
Michael has over 20 years of experience in online marketing, and has a passion for helping his clients grow their businesses and convert more customers and patients. Crazy Monkey Media, Inc. specializes in high authority and high visibility marketing campaigns that utilize Search Engine Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Reputation Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing, and Pay per Click Advertising, among others.
Crazy Monkey Media, Inc. serves high level professionals with high value clients or patients, such as attorneys, dentists, and cosmetic surgeons.We also service Home Service Professionals, such as roofers, remodelers, HVAC contractors, etc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.