Great new product! Too bad your reputation sucks

Remember the days when a successful product launch merely required a smart ad campaign and sampling opportunities?

Marketers had a small box of reliable, favourite tools. Today, the tool box is filled with lots of fancy gadgets and power attachments. Some we know how to use, others we are just figuring out (VR, AI). And this sets up all sorts of new challenges.

So, while marketers are focused on rooting around in their tool boxes looking for just the right programmatic buy and SEO strategy to launch the hottest new product, it only takes one hit to your brand’s reputation to undo all your good work. The reality is that it’s not a matter of IF the hit will come, it’s WHEN.

The path is littered with examples:

  • Johnson & Johnson – The iconic Baby Powder brand (that just happens to appear to contain asbestos) that causes women to develop ovarian cancer, cost the company $4.14 billion in July and a stock drop of 1.4 per cent
  • The Weinstein company – The producer and distributor of over 80 Oscar-winning films, led by one of the most despised public figures in the US, is going out of business.
  • Uber – The ride-sharing darling of millennials is embroiled in lawsuits and investigations into sexual harassment alongside executive and CEO resignations.
  • Trump Hotels - Enough said.

Would you want to be the chief marketer trying to introduce a new product for one of these brands in this environment of mistrust?

The rise of citizen journalism has further complicated communications by providing a voice and platform for “unofficial” media to share their views on your brand. These magnified voices exponentially increase and expand the speed and severity of the issue.

That’s where PR comes in. This all-purpose tool has the power to Protect and Repair your brand’s reputation.

To protect, PR proactively builds long-term, credible value that supports your brand’s goals and objectives and creates a natural conversation with your audiences. Regularly disseminated positive news stories, thought leadership programs and social responsibility initiatives can help put “coin in the bank” and add value to your company’s reputation.

When challenges arise that withdraw some of that value, PR can reactively repair the damage – most effectively if there’s enough “coin” in reserve.  Your end users can find reassurance that the problem is probably a blip given your company’s sterling record.

PR is the perfect complement to marketing’s sales-driven and more immediate bottom-line focus. With PR in your toolbox, the end goal is intertwined: sell more great products and services because you have taken the time to reinforce a company that your customers and consumers can trust.

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