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Positive and Negative Publicity Strategies

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Published: Thu, 09 Aug 2018

In today’s world, image and reputation of a business is critically significant than past due to increased market competition and also, with developed technologies, the consumers can be more easily evaluate to particular brand of product or organization. Therefore, it is essential that businesses and organizations have understanding of the effective and strategy public relation for healthy and positive new development. Successful public relation can be give to organization as a good image, and thus publicity is significant role in terms of successful public relation. Because, publicity can be helps gain public awareness and build relationship between products and consumers.

The publicity can be defined in many interpretations. Yet, according to Yale (1991:2), “publicity involves supplying information that is factual, interesting, and newsworthy to media not controlled by you, such as radio, television, magazines, newspapers, and trade journals”. It can be both positive and negative to one’s business or organization and thus, it is significant to be aware of what strategies can support to either improve as a positive or reduce a negative way, rather than just simply analysis how they are addressed. Due to organization crises frequently result in negative publicity, threatening the image of the company, the company should have an effective tactics for reduce the impact (Dean, 2004). Furthermore, organization need to try achieve positive publicity for enhance their healthy image and reputation for a successful within market competition. As a result, crisis management is mostly important tactic, which could be positive publicity or an overcome in a negative way, and once overcome in a negative way; publicity has essentially support public relation endeavors.

In this essay will look at both in positive and negative publicity and explain the strategies which can assist both. Also, it will examine two cases (Johnson & Johnson and Toyota) of negative publicity, how they reacted to reduce impacts and which crises management can be support.

Strategic positive publicity tips

Positive publicity is a main issue when organizing new event or product because it allows to company send a message out to wider audience in effective way, rather than reach the message personally. In a further extend, it is normally acknowledged to be more credible and more influential than company-controlled communications (Wragg, 1981). In this sense, therefore, it is vital to know which strategies can be support to maintain positive publicity.

Firstly, organization has to become familiar with the wide range of publicity tools available with them (Wragg, 1981). It can be feature articles, news releases, interviews, press conferences and special events. Besides, these days people more familiar with online sources such as online news reports, blog posts, Facebook updates, YouTube videos and Twitter entries. For instance, good news may spread to wider audience via online sources and its may potentially create healthy public image (Lawrence, 2010). Therefore, select effective publicity tool is most important point that can be achieve positive publicity.

In addition, the media can be an effective publicity tool if it is used correct for building healthy image between an organization and the community. As noted by Wragg (1981:17), “the media is one of the main avenues…value of the media in influencing or bringing a message to the notice of the greatest number of people in the shortest time”. With developed technologies, most of consumers are able to interact with at least one source of media tool and thus, using effective media is opportunities organization to communicate with consumers. For instance, consumer may evaluate what the organization say and what they do via growth of media.

Secondly, organization needs to develop making a publicity plan for presenting their message to the public via the media. As mentioned by Yale (1991:13), with a good publicity planning will “help the organizations come out ahead in the competition for space in publications and air time”. In a further extend, the organizations can get a lot of coverage for free if it is done correctly and sent to targeted media (Yale, 1991). Effective publicity plan can be including as determine goal of event or product and also decide what message send to public. It may create public awareness that the event or product, “build a stronger reputation within one’s community or simply to introduce organization to the media and public” (Hashemi, 2008). After knowing organization’s goal, it enables to determine right target audiences which deliver the message to people who will be interest the message (Hashemi, 2008). Therefore, effective publicity plan is most important strategic for maintain positive publicity, and its lead to good image of one’s business. As a result positive publicity can be establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between organization and its publics (Hasek, 2001). In other words, effective publicity supports public relation as successfully.

Make lower and prevent negative publicity

Look at the reality; it is really obvious, that one little mistake, rumor or gossip can make a serious damage one’s business image even though the company is a market leader. This can be regarded as negative publicity. According to Parvesh (2007), negative publicity is the adverse publicity that an organization may incur due to a particular reason, which may lead to potentially disastrous consequences. Like this, negative publicity has the possible to injury corporate image and reputation. “this is due to its high credibility as well as the negativity effect, a tendency for negative information to be weighted more than positive information in the evaluation of people, objects, and ideas” (Mizerski, 1982 cited by Dean, 2004:193. Because the media has a preference for reporting bad news (Dennis & Merrill, 1996), thus companies are more likely to receive bad press rather than positive press. Furthermore, blog, online forum and talk radio and uncontrolled media, it is easier than past, to damage organization image and reputation (Jenness, 2002). Therefore, It is compulsory know that how to organization can diminish the negative publicity, and get better their image in the public.

According to Jenness (2002),”negative publicity can be the result of a mishandled crisis”. In a further extend, negative publicity is often occurs due to wrong response from the crisis. Perrier, for example, “Perrier was unable to overcome negative publicity when top management hesitated in the crisis-solved process. Traces of benzene were found in the company’s bottled water in 1990, however top management reassured the public that it was necessary to recall contaminated bottles only in North America. The crisis continued when scientists found benzene in bottled water being sold in Europe” (Broom, Center & Cutlip, 2000:128). Finally, media discovered, and reported, that benzene-tainted product had been sold all over the world for months. The media questioned Perrier’s integrity and concern for public safety, and the company lost its dominant position in the market place; it has been unable to rebuild its reputation due to mishandled the crisis (Jenness,2002). This may suggest that effective crisis management is necessary for a reduce damage organization image or reputation. Effective crisis management can be regarded as careful planning, research and training, which can be overcome negative publicity. As Perrier crisis publicity suggests that, consumers need honest answer and they need them fast. Therefore, the company should have good crisis planning for deal with negative publicity. The plan can be include recall the all the products and make an apology to public.

Moreover, Berger, Sorensen and Rasmussen (2003:23) suggest that “dedicate a team to keep a sharp eye on all fronts, including the Internet” which involves blog, online forum and search engine ranking. This can be excellent strategy for prevent from negative publicity. For instance, negative movie review on the magazine or online forum, it may badly influence to the movie itself and also production company, because it leads to lose consumers’ attention and also possibly to decrease sale a movie ticket. Like this, company need keep look at any comments or developments that might turn ugly. “Although it can never be all-encompassing, it’s better to be aware of possibilities than being caught unawares” (Berger et al, 2003:32).

Develop Optimal Communication Plan

In addition, it is necessary develop optimal communication strategy for reduce negative publicity. For reduce negative publicity, the company may training about how to communicate with the media press and the public about the crisis that is happening. As noted by Dean (2004) has developed a classification of communication strategies that can be employed during a crisis event to manage the image of the affected organization. The company need well prepared communication plan for interview or presentation that open communicate with public in order to protect organization image by negative publicity. In addition, communicate in web-site or informal networking can be useful tool for present information as effectively. Word-of-mouth, for example, it can be powerful tool for positive publicity or negative publicity, yet “generally assumes that negative word-of-mouth should hurt product success” (Berger et al, 2003:26). Therefore, the company need develop word-of mouth communication in order to quash rumor or gossip and make consumers more aware or encourage the product or event. As a result, careful planning, research, and training can lessen negative publicity and can assist companies control crises.

Is Negative Publicity Can being a Good Thing?

On the other side, according to Berger et al (2003:33), “though negative publicity can definitely hurt sales in some cases, in others, negative may actually be positive”. In a further extend, even though negative publicity can be damage organization image or reputation, it may occurs positive effect in some case if the negative image can assist to increase public attention, overwhelming the negative influences . It suggests that, because “negative publicity can increase product awareness and accessibility; it can sometimes have a positive influence on product choice and sales” (Berger et al, 2007:3). Due to number of brands are in market place, it is important that get a consumer’s awareness in order to successful business. Informal media or word-of-mouth, for instance, even though they are presents the products or event as badly, consumers may more inform of their particular product or event. Moreover, Berge (1990:25) mentioned that “a wine described as ‘redolent of stinky socks’, saw its sales increase by five percentages after it was reviewed by a prominent wine website”. Also, indirect negative publicity can be positive in terms of sales. For example, when Britney Spears represented as issue maker via media, such as hit to paparazzi, over binge problem, her new album ‘Circus’ actually more increased sales, because the articles also mentioned her new album, and thus direct positive publicity (Berger et al, 2007:15). Like this, these examples show that negative publicity can be a good thing in some case.

In addition, after effectively overcome and control the negative organization image and reputation, the organization can regain the consumer’s trust. In other words, after found lots of problems from the public, as negative publicity, the organization may use them as feedback in order to rebuild their positive image. It may take a long time, however, with resolved negative image, the organization potentially get a public attention.

Two cases of organization crisis

As a mentioned above, when organization crisis and its damage by negative publicity, It is important figure out what actually happened, how the negative publicity that affect the organization and how to manage in order to solve the crisis. In this part will look at two different examples, Johnson & Johnson of Tylenol and Toyota Recall, which used different ways to manage the emergency situations and have different public opinions.

Johnson & Johnson of Tylenol Scandal

In 1981, Chicago, U.S.A, seven customers who took Tylenol died of injected poison. In this tragedy, Johnson & Johnson lost their image as market leader and also huge damage corporate reputation. This suggests that they might have had no choice without to give up the brand of Tylenol. Tylenol was the top-selling product by Johnson & Johnson. Yet, after the crisis, according to Kaplan (1998), the publicity about the cyanide laced capsules directly caused a nationwide panic and also the company found itself in a real dilemma. Also, many people said that Tylenol as a brand could no longer survive in market place. Moreover, the media interpreted the issue as badly. Therefore, these poisonings made it compulsory for Johnson & Johnson to launch a public relations strategy immediately, in order to save the reliability of both their product and corporation as a whole (Kaplan,1998).

Toyota Recall Crisis

Toyota was play a dominant role in the developing automatic in the world, with high-quality and high technology lead to Toyota’s high credit in market place. They are reached the best seller between within all vehicles’ company, and also build good reputation during last 40 years (Edmund, 2010). It suggests that Toyota be covered in media as positively, and its lead to maintain their good image for a long period. Though, recently the negative publicity around the Toyota company as fast and quick due to acceleration problem. Toyota got a lot of complains about the acceleration and they eventually has recalled eight million vehicles worldwide, including a total of six million in the U.S., because of acceleration problems. Consumers may keep away from Toyota brand because they might be thinking that Toyota is not safe and reliable anymore. Like this, the company suffers from the very serious credit crisis, as noted by Horrel (2010), “the long-term loss of reputation could be the real knockout punch for Toyota”. After that, it seriously damaged Toyota’s high-quality image in the public.

Different reaction between Johnson & Johnson and Toyota

The first different between two companies is how honestly they react from the crisis. According to Dean (2004), “Johnson & Johnson handled a disastrous crisis amazingly well in 1982 and the company’s reaction remains as a model for effective media relations”. They let customers know about this awful incident via the media instead of concealing the fact. Contrary, even though Toyota already found the problem early time, they denial for the reputation and conceal the problem, which do not take any responsibility of the issue. Therefore, the public view began to turn away from Toyota (Horrel, 2010).

In addition, another different point between two companies is that how actively the take action toward the crisis. After cyanide was discovered in some capsules of Tylenol, a product used by an estimated 100 million people, Johnson & Johnson decided to cooperate fully with the media. It immediately announced a recall of all Tylenol packages in both U.S. and foreign markets. They decide not use the all the recalled products even though after results proved that there was no problem in the manufacturing procedure (Kaplan, 1998). However, even Toyota recalled a mounts of vehicles in 2009, the problem still existing and recall increased occurs. Eventually, on January, 2010, Toyota decide stop to producing the recalled model. Their reputation gets serious damage at the same time.

The last thing which different between two companies is that lack of sincerity to customers. Tylenol put lots of endeavor into regain trust of the public. The company’s decisions, which were based on the business principle of being socially responsible, earned Johnson & Johnson praise from the media. According to Dean (2004:197) the company received additional positive press coverage when it “subsequently introduced its new tamper-resistant packaging”. Although not being able to control media coverage of the situation, Johnson & Johnson was able to gain positive publicity because the company had an open communication plan and knew what to do during a crisis (Kaplan, 1998). Therefore, Johnson & Johnson got a good image, which involves the company considers customer’s safety, and quickly recovered their reputation in an effective way. On the other side, Toyota still struggling with the crisis and respond to lessen impact with the CEO’s apologies to the public, the purpose is reducing the negative publicity as much as possible. Yet, it seems to be hard to rebuild their reputation as before. As like, “determination that a firm’s actions or inactions are directly responsible for a tragic event is likely to severely affect consumer regard for the organization” (Dean, 2004:201). As a result, two cases show that crisis can be huge damage to organization image, yet, with well-organized strategy, the crisis could be solved and rebuild the positive reputation.

To conclude, publicity can be assist organization image and reputation either as positively or as negatively. Therefore, it is important to understand the strategies that can be employed to assist both. By understanding of them, the organization can be maintain positive publicity for develop their healthy image, on the other side; they also enable to make lower negative publicity in order to reduce and prevent organization image. As mentioned above, two cases (Johnson & Johnson and Toyota) shows that how the negative publicity has affected the organization in terms of image and reputation. Especially, when organization is in a crisis, it would be help to rebuild good image if they using publicity as effectively. As a result, publicity has essentially supported public relations endeavors, because publicity allows achieving public awareness and building relationship between products and consumers. Therefore, once organization uses positive strategies in order to gain a good image, it can be actually supported public relation in effective way.


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