In Advertising, Branding, Creativity, Marketing, Media, PR Campaigns, PR Mistakes, PR Resources & Tips, PR Trends, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” – Benjamin Franklin

Reputation, as we know, is a delicate thing. It can take years to build up and a mere moment to squash. The way companies, both private and public, communicate with stakeholders during a crisis can be pivotal in determining whether it bounces back strong or is forever tarnished by the public’s response to the situation. As the year comes to a close, we reflect on a few of the year’s biggest PR crisis and companies handled themselves in the midst of scrutiny.

“The THINX crisis was most interesting to me, being someone who has knowledge on the inner workings of corporate and crisis communications. I always delve into the “why” of a strategic decision in terms of external communications. Upon reading the CEO’s Medium post as a response to the sexual harassment scandal, my brain went into overdrive. Did she choose to step down or did the board force her out? Did she go rogue to write this post or was it approved by her PR team? If it was approved, what was the reasoning behind such an “apology-lite”-type of note? While I may not get answers to my questions or agree with this approach and messaging, I enjoy learning from others’ reactions. Learning what to do and what not to do are equally important.”

  • Gabie Kur, East Coast General Manager

“My favorite crisis of the year was Pepsi’s with its infamous Kendall Jenner ad (you know the one) which created a lot of conversation. Pepsi didn’t make a massive deal about it, but they did pull the ad. Data shows a lot of outrage online, but also that the brand wasn’t damaged. I like highlighting this crisis because most people remember the controversy it caused. It created conversation, and Pepsi did what made sense in the end by stopping the ad campaign. In a move to shed light on equality, they missed the mark, but more people report having a more favorable view of the brand as a result of the ad rather than a less favorite review. It didn’t happen as they intended, but Pepsi both contributed to the conversation and caused it to continue, which is positive.”

  • Katie Pierini, Senior Vice President

Equifax remains top of mind because of its massive scale with over 145 million Americans impacted. It wasn’t just the breach itself that caused such a ruckus, but Equifax’s discovery and lack of transparency, executive stock sales, how the company may profit as a result of the breach, and the live Congressional hearing surrounding it. Most cybersecurity breaches go undiscovered for months. Companies need to take action more quickly, including taking ownership and communicating with those affected (customers, employees, shareholders, etc.). This crisis underscored the need for those responsible to be honest about what they know and don’t know, and what they’re doing to learn more.”

  • Saramaya Penacho, Account Manager

“I have to bring up Uber, which has consistently been in the hot seat this year. From #DeleteUber, to the data breach disclosure, to the downfall of Travis Kalanick, the series of unfortunate events is quite long for the unicorn startup. The positive? Uber has taken steps to clean up its act and continues to move forward from its HR and PR crisis, appointing several high-profile women to help detoxify the company’s culture. As far as legal repercussions for the 2016 data breach go in addition to the evolving ban from London, time will tell. The biggest takeaway for all here is this is a cautionary tale, one that centers around the mighty can and will fall if the public has anything to say about it.”

  • Emily Webb, Account Manager
Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

Let's Chat.