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Ocean Marketing’s PR Fail: Four Ways to Manage a Public Relations Debacle

When you decide to outsource marketing, or any business function, every small business hopes for the very best. But, should you also be prepared for the very worst?

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It was so easy, in fact too easy, to attack Christoforo solely based on his email conduct with N-Control’s customer. Most people, with common sense, realize that hostile communications don’t end up well for anyone involved. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t realize how powerful an e-mail can be.

After all, an e-mail is not a press release or a letter; it’s a glorified electronic memo. But the very thing that makes email so useful, its ease of circulation, also makes it dangerous.

With emotions flaring and anger welling up, you may be tempted to give a customer a piece of your mind. Don’t. Remember that you have to seek higher ground. Customers aren’t foolish; they can easily tell the difference between constructive criticism and baseless attacks.

2. Hire Someone to Help Clean Up

It may seem counter productive to solve the problems created by one company by hiring another, but successful Marketing and PR firms usually know what they’re doing. There are some notoriously bad marketing firms out there, but if you shop around for results in lieu of cheap alternatives, you can typically find a consultant that will do great work.

In your initial meeting, be frank and ask them specifically how they are going to solve your dilemma. Depending on the amount of bad press in the market beforehand, they may pass. But there are companies that can execute on a speedy resolution.

And remember, you aren’t the first entrepreneur that has dealt with a rogue hire.

3. Own up to Your Mistakes

Maybe the only mistake you actually made was hiring the company that actively sought out to destroy your reputation. If that’s the case, great! Own up to it, stand by your product, and if all else fails … take N-Control’s approach — buy good press and donate to a notable charity.

However, at the end of the day, customers typically want a speedy and reasonable conclusion to their problem so they can get on with their lives.

So, brainstorm with your new team, draft a press release highlighting the problem, your apology and how you’re going to fix it. This simple tactic does wonders to restore a company’s reputation. It humanizes your company and lets your customers know that you are diligently involved in rectifying issues.

4. Business Must Go On

The public’s memory is short. Unless your company’s has seriously harmed someone, the world will move on to bigger, better or more tragic stories.

Once you’ve successfully managed damage control, publicly apologized and rebuilt bridges … move on.

Learn from the experience, grow as a small business owner and continue work to strengthen your brand. Hopefully, this scenario doesn’t happen to you, but if it does you now have tools to effectively manage any problems a rogue outsourced partner may cause.

Here’s a look at Examiner.com’s play by play.

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