I was just thinking about how to explain reputation management to a client, and how it was more encompassing than public relations. Watching the Today Show yesterday on NBC, I got to watch an absolutely perfect example that a lot of us can relate to. OK, so I’m not sure about you, but I have a secret addiction to Food Network and the Cooking Channel. It’s an addiction that I can control, as I have to work during the day during the best showtimes. However, whenever I’m on bedrest for anything, you can guarantee that I’m brushing up on my cooking skills! And, everyone that knows me really well knows that cooking is my absolute favorite thing to do in the world!
We all know that Paula Deen’s favorite ingredient is butter! It’s one of the well known facts in the cooking world. When I’m not dieting, I feel like Paula is right there with me cooking! Rumors had started about Paula Deen having type 2 diabetes. What’s your first reaction? With eating that much butter, how could she NOT have type 2 diabetes? However, it was all a rumor at first.
Paula could have continued PR efforts just broadcasting about her new endeavors, however, her publicist demanded that they do a reputation management campaign. Yesterday, on the Today Show, Paula Deen did confirm that she has diabetes, and answered many of the questions people are speculating about. Why, oh why, would a person with diabetes use so much butter in cooking some of the unhealthiest foods possible? Paula was prepared with responses to defend her reputation. Her answer was simply about how the public doesn’t see how she eats the rest of the time. And, if you eat in small portions, unhealthy food isn’t bad for you. She claimed that she’s known about this, and wouldn’t change her specialties. She is proud to cook the way she does, but as with anything, you need to have control.
I can tell you that I LOVE butter, but I know I need to diet and butter is typically not in my recipes. However, every once in a while, I’ll have it, and in small portions…it’s so yummy!!
If you know that some unfavorable news can come out about your brand or your company, don’t be afraid of the press. Prepare for it! Manage your reputation! With a carefully crafted response and proactive approach to releasing news, you’re one step ahead of the critics. Don’t let them get to you before you get to them!
Originally written March 2011: Right now, I’m starting my training to compete in triathlons. When I’m tired, I want to quit soooo badly! However, that’s probably not going to get me to run, bike and swim for miles. So, I give myself a goal, and I must accomplish this goal before quitting. Marketing follows the same rules. In uncertain times, marketing is more important than ever! Set a budget, and keep on track. Staying on track shows confidence, and it will allow you to leapfrog your competitors who are reactive and driven by fear.
As with anything, when you get off track, it is extremely hard to get back on track. A McGraw Hill study on the 1981-1982 recession shows the positive performance results of companies who maintained or increased their marketing budgets during the recession achieved significantly higher sales growth during and following the recession. While it may not be practical for all companies to increase or maintain their budgets during a recession period, it is important to determine a budget, focus on profitable targets, and utilize creativity and persistence to reach your customers. Don’t fall behind your competition by disappearing during the tough times.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your message in front of your customers and prospects. Use your imagination (or ours) to find the right way to market effectively to your customers and prospects. There are many ideas out there, so go ahead and be creative, but DON’T LET YOURSELF SLOW DOWN!