You can improve your company and brand reputation with media and customers if you follow these six strategies, compliments of Dale Carnegie.
This post was inspired by the recent and disappointing Cam Newton exchange with a female beat reporter.
Trust me, generally I like Cam. He’s a special player and his commercials have been entertaining.
But, his condescending attitude and behavior while answering the reporter’s question demonstrate arrogance and ignorance. It jeopardizes his media relations and ultimately his reputation, especially with younger fans and their parents and coaches who are customers and influencers. Consider:
- He has lost his Dannon yogurt deal because of this behavior and attitude.
- Gatorade didn’t drop Cam from their roster, but it did issue this statement. “Cam’s comments were objectionable and disrespectful to all women and they do not reflect the values of our brand.” Not sure why the brand kept him if he doesn’t reflect their values.
This wasn’t the first time Cam acted poorly during a news conference. I refer you to his childish and unprofessional attitude and behavior after the Super Bowl 50. This could have been a shining moment despite his disappointment. Sadly, it is going to be one of his defining moments. He isn’t the first or last QB to lose a Super Bowl.
Cam is an athlete whose popularity has been built on his skill but especially because of his charm and charisma and beaming smile. Yet he seems clueless about how his poor media relations can sully his reputation and disengage his brand from his fans.
He’s not alone. Many celebrity ambassadors and spokespeople can treat the media with contempt. But trust me that will come back to haunt them as they will reap what they sow. Athletes and some brands ignore the advice of Hollywood sage Wilson Mizner.
“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down. “
- So, a brand similarly can compromise its media and customer relations and reputation when it dismisses or even ignores customer complaints or issues, doesn’t respond to reporters or bloggers, fails to live up to its promise or compromises its authenticity.
How does Cam and a brand recover from this?
I would suggest following these six recommendations from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends And Influence People:
- When you’re wrong admit it quickly and emphatically. Frankly, these celebrity apologies are getting tiresome, but they are usually the best way to reset the relationship and address their challenges and rekindle respect.
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. If you don’t want backlash or conflict, don’t start an argument or controversy.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “you’re wrong.” Cam’s attitude certainly showed some disdain for the reporter. And she was only doing her job, and frankly, she asked a very smart and savvy question.
- Begin in a friendly way. There is no harm in recognizing a good question even if you don’t want to answer it. Starting a confrontation is only going to prolong a confrontation. While you want to avoid it, the media’s job is to pursue conflict – it makes news.
- Make the other person feel important. Don’t be condescending. Reporters are subject matter experts. They ask tough questions based on their experience and expertise which build their credibility with their readers, audience and management.
- Remember that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Yes, when you call on a reporter and use his or her name that shows respect and they may feel like you are more in their corner.
I would hope that your celebrity endorser and brand can use these six strategies when you have compromised or want to avoid damaging your relationship with media and your customers or clients.
How are you assuring that brand is staying respectful of the media and your customers and your reputation with all of them?
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