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When PR goes wrong



PR

By Jo Macdermott

When it comes to PR campaigns, even the big businesses don’t always get it right.

As a business owner, you have probably cringed at the resulting media frenzy when a multinational corporation makes a marketing blunder, and no doubt have made a few mistakes yourself – we all do. But no matter how big (or small) the marketing budget, the rules are basically the same.

Multinational pizza franchise Domino’s was recently slated in the media for its ‘game changer’ campaign, which created a large amount of interest and even affected the share price. Customers and shareholders then felt disappointed when the ‘revolution’ turned out to be merely a new range of pizzas.

Although it is commonly believed that there is no such thing as bad publicity, an incident like the one experienced by Domino’s Pizza can have a detrimental impact on any business. After the game changer campaign was announced, there was a large amount of negative publicity on social media sites, with customers saying they were no longer going to purchase from Domino’s.

Customers described feeling let down and disappointed with the company, and criticised Domino’s for being unoriginal and not living up to their expectations. The share price dropped as disgruntled shareholders reacted to the news.

Although this may seem like an extreme reaction to a simple marketing ploy, with its game changer campaign, Domino’s broke one of the unbreakable rules of marketing – trust. Any brand that wants to build up a following needs to build trust with its customers. The audience needs to know that a company or business will deliver what they promise at a consistent standard each time.

By building up customer expectations through their television and social media advertising campaign, then failing to deliver, Domino’s left their customers feeling disillusioned. The fact they did this intentionally led to the feelings of betrayal expressed in a number of negative comments left by fans on the Domino’s Facebook page.

As a business owner, it may be tempting to talk up your marketing campaigns in an effort to create interest and engage your audience. To a certain degree this is fine – but it is well worth considering whether the end result is going to live up to the hype. If it doesn’t, are customers going to feel let down, and is this likely to affect their loyalty to your brand?

It is important, if you want to keep the trust of your customers and build your reputation, that you don’t create expectations you can’t, or have no intention of meeting. This holds true for a small business, or a multinational corporation. Next time you are tempted to hype up your latest product release or innovation be honest – your customers will be happier as a result.

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