Most celebrities, personalities, corporations or brands will one day encounter the dreaded PR mishap. Whether they accidentally flash the paparazzi while exiting a vehicle, the corporate CEO gets a DUI or a brand mistakenly markets their product in an insensitive way, they all will face the inevitable PR nightmare. Usher in the era of blogs (and more recently Twitter) that cover everything from gossip to marketing and you have a recipe for quick disaster. But even in the darkest of circumstances there is one silver lining…a PR crisis can shed light on where your core fans are discussing your brand online.
For example late last year, the brand Motrin ran into issues while marketing their product to moms. As we watched online chatter come to its boiling point, one thing that was very intriguing was how much FREE data the brand was getting as a result. Motrin could now pinpoint specific social media areas where customers were discussing their brand. Twitter seemed to emerge as the front runner in terms of conversation ‘hotspots’, giving the brand a virtual road map on how to locate, and truly engage their core audience. Specific mommy bloggers became the brand’s marketing targets as online influencers, or the ‘gate keepers’ to getting information to their core audience.
Most recently popular R&B star Chris Brown is dealing with his own PR nightmare on top of some very serious legal troubles thanks to a late night incident with his mega star girlfriend Rihanna. While I’m sure social media marketing is on the bottom of his to-do list, other digital marketing professionals can learn key demographic information while this incident unfolds.
Where are Chris Brown and Rihanna fans talking about this incident?
How much are they talking about this incident? Is this audience most active during a specific time of day?
Are they new to social media, or, as I assume, are they veterans of the space?
After the celebrity, personality, corporation or brand has the necessary legal conversation most publicist or lawyers make arrangements to release a statement about the incident. In recent years, celebrities have issued statements on their website; some have a formal statement read to press. Why not explore other options more conducive to their audience? Possibly a statement released to fans via Twitter? A video blog on their website or social network? A direct statement to your Facebook fan page moderator? If the idea is to get information directly to your fans, then what better opportunity to do so when you, the brand or the celebrity is in your darkest hour?
TMZ revolutionized how traditional media outlets perceived online outlets – citing stories from gossip blogs and sites in their national broadcasts and asking Harvey Levin to speak as an expert guest. In an ever-changing digital world the public is given free reign to consume only the news and media they care about. Put those two together, and a PR nightmare can end up giving back more then it may have taken. FREE data on your fans, your digital influencers and possibly a place to mend your strained relationship with fans by showing them they are the only opinion that matters.