No matter how hard you try, chances are that you will encounter a public relations nightmare sooner or later in your business. It’s inevitable. It can be small or major, but it will always have an effect. Recovering from a PR disaster is the most important step. What can you do to pull yourself out of this public relations hole? Some companies are already trying to answer that question for 2015. These are some major PR fumbles of the year.
Scroll through any social media site, and eventually you are bound to come across something about SeaWorld. Since the movie, Blackfish, premiered, the company has faced major criticism and is in a public relations free fall. Hoping to recover, SeaWorld has said that it will be updating and enlarging its marine animal tanks, but many people are still critical and the company faces an uphill battle.
Comcast has been in the negative PR spotlight for several years. Despite being the largest cable tv and Internet provider, Comcast continues to lose customers who cite outages and poor customer service as their reasons for switching to another company. Comcast tried to change this by merging with Time Warner Cable, but the deal fell through.
Monsanto is another company that has been struggling against negative public relations for a few years. The agricultural giant is regularly blamed for the growth of genetically modified organisms or GMO’s. With people becoming more health conscious and aware of what is in their food, Monsanto suffered backlash for its use of GMO’s. However, as pseudoscience continues to be debunked, people are slowly reeling in their GMO hatred.
Food awareness has also affected fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s. Sales have been slipping steadily as people have looked for healthier options. In an attempt to appeal to the crowd looking for a higher quality burger, McDonald’s offered build-your-own burger stations that allow customers to customize their burgers. Though not common yet, the plan seems to be gaining steam as it has gotten approval from consumers lucky enough to have a store near them that offers this concept.
Finally, Walmart continues to suffer from negative PR. The company routinely gets bashed for its low hourly wages and worker conditions. Recent heat has come from the national debate over raising the minimum working wage to $15 per hour. While Walmart has made little attempt to better benefits and pay for their workers, they have pledged to buy more American made products to boost the economy.
And one thing that’s for sure – there’ll be many PR mistakes in 2016 as well.