A few weeks ago, a colleague approached me about a client who wanted to write a letter to the editor.
Usually I say letters to the editor are a great way to increase your visibility and credibility by making you an expert in your field. But in this case, I had to advise her that the letter to the editor was a mistake.
You see, the client’s competitor was featured in a big article about opening a new business. This new competitor, a former employee of the client, made a back handed negative comment about the client’s business. It was very subtle, but it was there if you read between the lines.
Needless to say, the client was upset and wanted to set the record straight… as well as exact a little revenge. (Who wouldn’t? I know I would want to get even!)
But thinking it over I realized that the only thing a letter to the editor would do is sound like sour grapes. Most people wouldn’t have noticed the comment to begin with, and those who did may not even care. This angry client would have looked like they were making a big deal out of nothing – and perhaps lost customers in the long run.
Sometimes our initial response to defend ourselves gets in the way of helping to protect our business. Sometimes it’s better to keep a low profile until things blow over.
Now I am not recommending that you ignore a crisis or always say no comment. What I am saying is that knee-jerk ‘we need to fix this with publicity’ efforts often backfire.
So what advice did I give? Skip the public revenge and let go of the anger. (Voodoo doll, anyone?) Then use the energy to create a killer holiday promotion that will show her former employee who the real winner is.