As mentioned in my previous post, the fashion industry has a longstanding trend of making poor PR decisions. So, what’s the secret to avoiding these mistakes? A number of tips are out there, but here are five you can count on to help you catch those unfashionable decisions before they hit a media firestorm.
1. Know what your company stands for
In order to produce quality and consistent messaging to further your brand and benefit your customers, you must know what your company stands for. This includes knowing your company’s mission, ethical values, goals and relationship with customers.
The more clearly defined you and your purpose are, the less likely you’ll end up creating messages or ideas that offend. Pushing the boundaries is often essential to be innovative and talked about, but you should know your company’s limits and how you want to be perceived first.
2. Be strategic
Creating a strategy for your messaging campaigns, especially those using social media, can make all the difference in avoiding PR disasters. When you have a clear direction of what you’re trying to accomplish and how you will get there, you can more clearly identify the messages and content you will be using.
Have a discussion with employees about what you’re trying to say to customers and set clear boundaries for what is appropriate and what is not. This should include social media monitoring so that, in case your messages aren’t accepted the way you’d hoped, you can react quickly and minimize damage.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare
“What makes sense to an individual may not have the same meaning to a wider audience and the likelihood for this mistake is generally amplified during a chaotic event,” says Forbes contributor Aaron Aanenson.
A good way to dodge potential PR faux pas is to create messages well in advance in order to test them among sample audiences. Even having colleagues from other departments look over your strategies and ideas before you begin distributing them can help you predict how others will perceive it.
If you’re creating content for a live event, try listing ideas for posts beforehand to prevent posting something you’ll regret in the commotion of the event.
4. Think twice
Sometimes crossing the line can put your company or client on the map. Controversy and scandal get talked about.
However, before posting something online for the entire world to see, consider the possible effects. Will the post push boundaries and jumpstart positive conversation about your brand, or will it damage your reputation and put off potential customers?
Before posting something, ask the following questions:
- Is this content going to motivate my audience to act?
- Is this content so offensive that it could potentially decrease sales?
- Is this content relative to my audience?
- Does this content align with our company’s mission and brand?
- Are there current events that might impact the perception of this message?
While you never know exactly how your messages will be perceived, following these four steps can decrease the likelihood of posting something your company will regret. It’s always fashionable to post ethical content.
Haley Tyler is public relations major from Colorado who works as an assistant editor at Osmond Marketing. When she’s not drooling over Vogue articles or painting, you can find her in the mountains or reading a Dan Brown novel.