PR: The Basics

Managing your reputation doesn’t have to be complicated (if you have any common sense). Social media too can be quite scary – dip your toe in and you could get your foot bitten off as you find yourself and that incident from the Christmas party trending. But it doesn’t need to be a stress! Here are some very basic tips when it comes to making sure you don’t embarrass yourself…

By Dan Bryant  of Red Dog (our fabulous PR agency!)

Try to lead from the front

Interns, it’s always the bloody interns – or actually it sometimes isn’t. Yes, the exuberance of youth can land you in hot water, but it’s particularly demoralising when the owner of the company commits a blunder.

Jim Redner of the Redner Group in the US let his emotions get the better of himwhen the videogame Duke Nukem Forever was crucified in the press, tweeting the following:
“Too many went too far with their reviews… we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom”.

It’s a bit of a dark art in the industry to blacklist journalists who won’t play ball, but certainly an unspoken one. Within a day, 2kGames were up on their high horse and sacked the Redner Group, citing a wish to maintain their ‘mutually respectful relationship with the press’ – Something many weary reviewers met with raised eyebrows.

Red Dog

Try not to bury your head in the sand

Talking of youthful exuberance, in 2009 pizza-chain Dominos faced a bit of situation when a YouTube video was uploaded depicting employees putting cheese up their nose and back into a sandwich.  Delightful.
Dominoes hesitated, hoping that it might go away. Instead it went viral, and the video reached one million views in 48 hours. 77% of those views came in the final 12 hours. Panicking and covering your eyes is a really easy thing to do, and quite a nice way to put-off dealing with a situation. But the longer you wait, the longer it remains out of your control.

Try not to insult your customers

Apparently in February, Vodafone was “fed up of dirty hom*’s and going after bea**r”, whilst Chrysler found it “ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f**king drive”.
Not the best way to endear yourself.

Try not to insult your boss
Former Spurs striker Darren Bent wasn’t too happy with sitting on the bench, so decided to sound off about club chairman Daniel Levy. Now he’s playing alongside Emile Heskey and is £80,000 worse off. Ouch.

Try not to flat out lie

‘A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’ – You couldn’t get away with that today, rather these days, more often than not, you will just catch the odd beauty brand being rapped on the knuckles for pushing it a bit too far with their anti-aging claims.

These things can happen, but it’s best not to make a habit out of it, like Virgin Media appear to enjoy doing.

Poking fun at your rivals for their shortcoming is one thing, but consistently making things up isn’t going to do your reputation any good at all. November 2010 saw the ‘Stop the Broadband Con’ campaign, calling on competitors to display average speeds rather than maximum speeds. Virgin didn’t actually stop using maximum speeds themselves until months later.

It was the latest in the long line of cases that have seen Virgin hauled in front of the ASA for being ‘economical’ with the truth.

Perhaps they should worry more about letters like this

And if all else fails?
Blame it on the interns…