Negative Press is Inevitable, But It’s Not a Bad Thing…

People make mistakes. Nobody is perfect, no business is perfect. Things happen and lessons are learned. There might be some industry mishaps that have graced front-page headlines, but a year from the publication date, what’s the likeliness someone will remember it?

When people are looking to utilize a company’s expertise, they typically are inclined to ask fellow colleagues for their honest review or check out what other people are saying online. For example, Apple has a 72% approval rating, falling second to powerhouse Google. That means 72% of users have a favorable opinion about the company. It’s a pretty high number for such a large corporation. But, if you were to do a quick search, you would come across negative press the company has received over the years. Wouldn’t that skew the results even more? Not in today’s society.

Just because Apple has a high rating does not mean all the negative press is automatically removed from search pages. In fact, it means people are still willing to work with and use their products regardless of the press they have received. Why? Because users are more inclined to believe reviews on trusted websites such as Capterra and G2Crowd than what is gossiped online. According to an article on Inc, 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as their friends and family, essentially putting the idea of negative press on the back burner.

What Matters Most: Authenticity

Being “real” with customers gains trust. The transparency a company shows goes a long way down the road. A mistake was made, own up to it. If there was a manufacturing error, address it. When companies come up with excuses to pinpoint the blame in another direction, customers become wary of how the situation was handled.

Companies that own up to the problem, people view the as being honest and having the integrity to address the issue. These qualifications build a trust factor between a business and its customers. As an Entrepreneur article says, pointing fingers when things go wrong is easy, but the blame and omission are not effective leadership tools a business should exemplify. Wouldn’t you rather address the issue before a story breaks out? This showcases your company’s strength and holds dignity, steering away from negative press.

The Trust Factor

The old public relations belief was having a clear first page on Google resulted in immediate trust by any potential customer or investor researching a company. That is no longer the case…

Companies who have a positive digital footprint are indeed well-known and liked amongst industry peers, but so are companies who have negative cases on their search. People want a clear picture of current events and if there is an article saying, “E-commerce Store Denies Customers Free Shipping After Mistake”, they’ll find out why. Most importantly, when they continue to do their digging, seeing a statement on the company website or social media platform will allow them to see both sides of the story. They begin to trust in the company and understand its perspective.

Negative press used to dominate the PR space. People scoured for days to bury articles online mentioning their business in a negative matter. But, with the trustworthiness of online reviews and tactics that outweigh the bad, negative press has started to become a thing of the past. With people trusting online reviews more than what article has been published, companies are allowing their products to speak for itself. When a company mistake is made, the new norm is to address it head-one, acknowledging the issue. This tactic has allowed companies to be deemed “trust-worthy”, giving customers a reason to keep their business.

Rhamer Bernardez is a contributing editor and marketing associate for Newswire. She comes from a journalistic and PR background, covering everything from best practices in the field to social media strategy. Have an idea for a blog post? Don't hesitate to email Rhamer at:

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