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Public Relations Blunders and Successes and How Houston Companies Can Avoid Bad Press

Public Relations Blunders and Successes and How Houston Companies Can Avoid Bad Press

by Toria Walker / No Comments / 47 View / June 18, 2014

Among the many reasons to hire a Houston public relations firm is during times when your industry or profession is suffering from negative press or publicity. These dark times call for immediate PR activity to counteract the negative reports that may emanate from many sources, including traditional media and social media.

When handled properly, good public relations firm in Houston can cover a multitude of sins. When handled poorly, however, PR can actually make the problem worse, creating negative publicity and further spreading the “bad news.”

Bayou City PR–based in Houston, Texas–can help individuals and businesses handle negative publicity or incidents in the best possible way: with quality public relations designed to move the person or company past the negative and back into a positive publicity position.

Poor PR Makes Problems Worse

A good example of what not to do when it comes to PR is what happened when Internet giant Yahoo experienced significant email problems. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s female CEO who came into the job in July 2012, was determined to move Yahoo from its perception as a 1990’s relic to that of a modern, up-to-date platform. However, when Yahoo Mail, once one of the most popular mail programs in the world, began to develop problems, including outages and lockouts, users were angry.

Yahoo could have responded with positive PR and built the brand’s reputation again. However, the company took the worst possible stance. Instead of admitting the wrong and working on a fix, Yahoo VP of Communications Products Jeff Bonforte joked that Yahoo would have to “kick the users hard” in a body part to make them stop using the free email service. Further, someone leaked an internal email showing that only 25 percent of Yahoo employees used the company’s email platform.

By the time Yahoo began to address the problem, too much time had passed and many users had simply abandoned the platform. There is no way to know how many of those users will return even if Yahoo does fix the email issue.

Good PR Gives Problems Less Impact

While the “Tylenol Problem” occurred many years ago, it still stands out as one of the finest examples of how good PR can save a company in the midst of a crisis. In 1982, seven people in Chicago died suddenly and mysteriously. Their deaths were traced to Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules that had been laced with cyanide.

Johnson & Johnson, the company that produced Tylenol, was faced with a crisis that could have ended the huge corporation’s hopes of staying in business. Instead, Johnson & Johnson used sound PR techniques to remedy the problem and regain consumer trust.

The company made the decision to handle PR in two phases. In the first, the crisis was handled with an eye toward consumer safety. With no thought for the cost, Johnson & Johnson instantly pulled all Tylenol from store shelves and spent a great deal of advertising money warning consumers not to consumer their products until they could determine how the tampering occurred. This showed that the company was more concerned with public safety than profits.

During the second phase, Johnson & Johnson unleashed an extensive promotional marketing plan to bring Tylenol back as the number one painkiller in the nation. Realizing that it would take a great deal of time and money, the company invested large sums in designing tamper-proof packaging and pricing Tylenol at up to 25 percent less than its competition. Tylenol representatives also made presentations to those in the medical community to calm fears and gain professional endorsement.

Today, Tylenol is still one of the most popular products in the world with millions in annual sales. This is due in large part to the focused and targeted PR campaign launched in the wake of a terrible tragedy.

If you want the right public relations strategy to help you or your company recover from a problem, turn to Bayou City PR in Houston. Bayou City PR can help you take the right steps to save your company’s reputation with strategic public relations.

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