Despite your best efforts, your brand will occasionally be maligned by well-intentioned (or otherwise) individuals and brands. Sometimes it will occur because you failed to execute something as well as you could, sometimes it will be because you’re the brand with the most top-of-mind awareness in your marketplace. Sometimes, it’s because the other brand is simply a bully. Dealing with Bullies observes, “Some bullies are looking for attention. They might think bullying is a way to be popular or to get what they want. Most bullies are trying to make themselves feel more important. When they pick on someone else, it can make them feel big and powerful.” No matter the reason, as a brand that aspires to greatness you have only one road available to you for a response — the high road.
We’ve talked before about brands needing to have manners and display an understanding of social etiquette. In those moments, that’s where the rubber meets the road for your brand’s image. Mudslinging and name-calling will only escalate the situation and inevitably make the brand who is engaging in it look bad. If the “bad press” is occurring because you failed to meet your own standards in one way or another, then do as Manners for the Modern Brand™ suggests and “Apologize – quickly, and graciously. Even if it wasn’t really your fault.”
If this is stemming from professional jealousy or simply a bully-brand, then follow the advice handed out in Bullies: How to Handle It,
- Ignore the bully. Pretend you didn’t hear him. Don’t even look at him. Walk right past him if you can.
- Don’t cry, get angry, or show that you’re upset. That’s the bully’s goal. Don’t give her the satisfaction. Even if you’re feeling really hurt, don’t let it show. You can talk about or write down your reactions later.
- Respond to the bully evenly and firmly. Example: “No.” “That’s what you think.”
- If you can, turn a comment into a joke. Example: The bully says, “Stupid outfit!” You say: “Thanks! I’m glad you noticed.”
- Turn and walk away, or run if you have to. Remove yourself from the situation. Go to a place where an adult is present.
- Remember that you are not the one with the problem. It’s the bully who has the problem.
- If you’re being called names or teased, try “The Fog Tank.” Imagine that you’re inside a huge fish tank filled with white fog. Then, imagine that the insults are swallowed up by the fog before they reach you. Nothing touches you. Practice by thinking of the worst things a bully can say to you, then letting the fog eat them up.
Following these strategies will help your brand rise to the top and succeed. It takes more restraint and more “class” to refrain from jumping into an all-out brawl with another brand, but it’s worth it. People want to do business with Brands that are respectful, classy, and exercise restraint.