What To Do When People Hate You

Use negative attention to create positive content

When Ragan.com went looking for comment from companies on 24/7 Wall Street’s most-hated companies in America list, seven of ten either declined to comment or literally didn’t respond. Writer Matt Wilson asked several crisis management professionals why this might be, and BCM president Jonathan Bernstein offered this take, quoted from the Ragan.com article:

Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management says companies’ lack of response is probably the result of any of four causes: denial, arrogance, they’re too busy fielding inquiries to respond to everything, or, “They’re crying all the way to the bank.”

What the companies ought to be doing, though, is laughing, he says. “If any of these companies were my client, I would certainly advise them to reply, and [I’d] suggest that humor would be a good approach.”

For example, one company on the list, Johnson & Johnson, made a funny apology video when there was a shortage of OB Tampons. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re cooking up another video like that in response to the ‘most-hated’ article,” Bernstein says.

If you land on the most-hated list, you’ve done something to seriously tee off your stakeholders, but it’s usually not an offense that requires a deadly serious response. Good crisis management means turning negativity into opportunity, and this is a prime situation. Use the attention to publicize a video or post telling people essentially, “hey, you’re right, we were jerks, and we’re not going to do that any more,” sprinkle in a bit of humor to make it memorable, and improve your chances of avoiding the list next time.

The BCM Blogging Team

Comments 1

  1. Sandra@Public relations India

    This is actually a nice way to respond if there is a lot of negativity going around about your company. Customers would be happy to know that you don’t mind accepting your mistakes and promise a better service next time.

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