“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

This is a phrase that we’ve all heard before, one that many of us have been known to use – and may even still believe. It’s a statement that rang true for many, many years, but as the times have changed, so has the reality of this truth.

Today I’m going to correct this statement once and for all, and explain why and how it no longer rings true – and how the new truth affects you and your business.


In today’s market, there is absolutely such thing as bad publicity.

Social media changed the game
Before social media, traditional marketing, as we all know and remember, was about one-way conversations. The brand put out advertisement and consumers had no choice but to watch, listen and see this publicity before carrying on with their day. Because of these one-way conversations, it only made sense that it didn’t matter whether or not the publicity was positive or negative. All that mattered was that consumers would hear the brand’s name and subliminally lock it away into their subconscious – hopefully calling upon it when they found themselves in need of the brand’s products or services.

Today, business is not run under the same conditions. The one-way conversations have been redirected into two-way discussions and we, as consumers no longer have to simply listen, watch or hear the advertisement and publicity that brands put out. Today we have loud voices and an even further reach. So when something goes wrong in or with an organization, we no longer hear one-side of the conversation. In fact, the consumer’s side of the negative publicity can be far louder than that of the brand’s, having far more of an impact than it used to.

So if a negative brand situation can result in fewer customers, wider negative appeal and range, and ultimately a loss of revenue, I’d say it’s very safe to say that today, there is in fact such thing as bad publicity.

There is an up side
However, this new reality doesn’t mean that we, as brands, are left at the mercy of our customers. In fact, the powerful voice and reach goes both ways… if you know how to use it.

There’s a way to address and respond to each bad publicity – or social media crisis – that gives your brand the upper-hand. It is possible to turn that bad publicity into a positive campaign that allows you to leverage the negative press, turn it around and come out of the situation with even more loyal fans, and higher revenue than you had going in. But that of course takes the right mindset and a solid social media crisis plan.

So what used to be “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” has turned into “there is absolutely such thing as bad publicity – if you aren’t equipped with the right social media crisis plan.”

What does bad publicity mean to you and how do you think social media has helped change the name of the game? Share your answers with me below!

photo by: B Rosen