You heard that right! In some instances your business can benefit from bad PR. Yes, your brand reputation will take a hit, but at the end of the day, exposure is exposure … right?

With this in mind, a little disclaimer is probably necessary before we get into the benefits of bad press. Yes, brand exposure is never a bad thing, but you should always strive to build a positive reputation for your clients — and avoid resorting to dark PR tactics at all costs! 

Now that that's out of the way, media update's Taylor Goodman is here to help you see the silver lining of any bad PR here: 

Bad PR can increase brand awareness

As we alluded to above, bad PR is not always bad for business. This is because the brand awareness generated during your publicity misstep will outlast the blow to your reputation. 

Take Miss Universe, for example. After Steve Harvey famously announced the wrong winner of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, the brand experienced a 123% bump in organic traffic compared to 2014. Talk about a happy accident!


What's more, Stanford Business reported that negative reviews have been documented to increase book sales for lesser-known authors by 32% to 52%. 

This is likely due to our natural curiosity as humans. When we see commotion and controversy, it piques our interest. We want to know every detail of the situation the moment it is sensationalised. 

After the audience becomes interested in a business / product due to its association with the PR crisis, there is developed brand awareness. Obviously, as time passes following the bad press, the awareness will linger — and this, dear PR pro, is the power of negative publicity at work. 

Propelrr perfectly describes why bad PR can intrigue audiences, stating that, "having people aware of the product tempts the public to have their own knowledge and opinion about it."

So, a key takeaway from this is that a crisis isn't always the be-all-end-all of your brand. Do what you can to mend your reputation after the fact, but on the bright side, you've already secured brand awareness — and that is a major key to winning over a new customer.  

Bad PR can improve your client's brand

Norman Vincent Peale once said, "The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism," and this applies to many brands these days.

In fact, negative reviews or criticisms from one's audience can actually help your clients improve their offering. Obviously, no PR pro wants their client's social media pages filled with complaints, but they can use them to their advantage. 

From a public relations perspective, negative reviews can help to:

Increase conversions 
No brand or product can receive only positive reviews all the time. Often, if a product has just good reviews, the consumer could be sceptical that they're fake. 

For this reason, if your clients receive negative reviews every now and again, this could increase their authenticity.

Build customer loyalty
Once your client receives a bad review, they can reach out to the disgruntled customer to mend the issue. This will help to build a deeper connection with your audience and you will improve customer satisfaction. 

Improve your overall brand
In many ways, negative reviews can provide a platform for your clients to better their brand. 

As they become aware of what their audience wants, they can tailor their brand accordingly — resulting in a more intuitive and aligned product / service. 

Bad PR humanises your brand

So, your clients have found themselves in some hot water, leaving you at the helm of a PR crisis. Don't panic — everybody makes mistakes. No matter how perfect or politically correct, most brands will find themselves in a crisis at some point.


This is the beauty of bad press: It proves to your audience that behind the unfeeling, inhuman brand are regular people trying to make it a success, and they will slip up every now and again. 

This is the angle you must spin as a PR pro if you're trying to rebuild your reputation. By admitting to your shortcomings and taking accountability, you are making major strides in rebuilding that consumer trust. 

Do you think all publicity is good publicity? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to prevent bad press at all costs? Then be sure to read these Four ways that PR pros can counteract negative publicity.
*Image courtesy of Unsplash