Why bad news is good

Written by Frank Catalano, Principal, Intrinsic Strategy
Submitted by Intrinsic Strategy

It’s inevitable that, during the slow crawl up through economic recovery, companies will have good patches and bad patches. What they shouldn’t do is succumb to the natural corporate temptation to share only good news.

This might seem counter intuitive to traditionalists: Share bad news with customers? But that will hurt our image, our customers’ trust in us and maybe our business. But what these traditionalists forget is we live in a century with customers who both distrust typical marketing messages … and aren’t afraid to use Twitter.

I think of this as my fifth and final myth of marketing coming out of a downturn: Communicate only good news. And it’s one I discussed with The Bellevue CollectionMerchants last month.

Let’s be realistic, for two reasons. First: As firms get back on their feet there will be missteps. Customers know this, and expect more transparency. People expect to hear bad news when coming out of bad times, especially if they know an individual industry sector has been troubled. If all they hear instead is happy-fluffy-bunny marketing speak, they will either be suspicious and wonder what you’re hiding, or they may wonder if you’re clueless about the true state of affairs. That’s not a good either-or to be in the middle of.

Second: Twitter, blogs and online discussion boards make it impossible to control or “manage” bad news in the old mass media sense when it comes to developments that affect large numbers of customers directly. Once it’s out there, it’s out there — and it spreads fast. It’s better to be slightly ahead of it than sweeping up from behind.

Read the rest at: Intrinsic Strategy

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