The other day, Ann Marie and I set out on a quest to rid our yard of moles, which have been exceptionally active this summer. The problem with moles is that they are indiscriminate in how they forage for food, chasing grubs and worms throughout the yard and leaving ugly bare spots everywhere. What’s more is that they also dislodge stepping stones and pavers, requiring extra effort to smooth out the base and replace them. All in all, after setting traps for many weeks, we have only caught three moles, but we experienced multiple false alarms where the trap was tripped but nothing caught. Negative comments and opinions from clients and prospects are similar to moles; you may not be able to see them right away, but you will definitely see the damage that occurs afterward!
Having a sound media relations strategy and business development plan is the same idea as hunting moles. You can no more “see” moles than you can “foresee” if your clients and prospects will make negative comments about your company and brand. Hunting moles and monitoring negative customer opinions require the same type of strategy, looking carefully for signs that they are there, and implementing a plan to minimize the damage.
What is the best plan to handle these negative opinions? Monitoring social media channels, especially Twitter and Facebook are very important. A sound media relations strategy will encompass print, online, TV and radio. A sound business development strategy will address how your competitors could capitalize on these negative opinions and create doubt about your product or service. There should be someone in your organization who is assigned to monitor and respond to negative comments and if you lack the resources, then these services can be outsourced to a public relations firm.
There is one main difference between hunting yard moles and handling negative opinions, it is easier to cover up the damage caused by moles with grass seed and starter fertilizer, than it is to repair the damage toyour reputation if negative opinions are allowed to build unchecked! So instead of being “whacked” by a negative comment, plan your media strategy in advance and save yourself a lot of headaches later.