Sometimes, it’s unexpected – one social media post or review can draw unwanted attention and affect the conversation surrounding your brand.

An unexpected backlash can stir up emotions within your team. While a coordinated and timely response is essential, think again before immediately drafting the first reply that comes to mind. Too quick and you may miss out on the nuances of the issue; too slow and you lose the opportunity to tell your story and manage the narrative.

When your brand is involved in a negative tweet or comment, here’s how to deal with it:

Keep all departments in the loop. Remember, everyone in the company will be seen as a spokesperson – not just your social media team. Inform them of what is happening and ask them not to post anything on social media – even on their personal accounts – about the issue until the company comes up with an official response.

  • Battle the knee-jerk response. It’s important to be sensitive to the situation. While you may be tempted to immediately respond, don’t. Consult with the appropriate team members before issuing any response, and focus on what you can control.

  • Be prepared to acknowledge the situation. If the press picks up the story, be prepared to issue a holding statement acknowledging the situation. This is not an admission of guilt or fault; this shows that your brand takes the issue seriously and is responsible about it. It also allows your brand to demonstrate transparency and empathy, and showcases your commitment to resolve the issue through a thorough investigation.

  • Monitor all conversations about your brand. Conduct social listening and monitor on-ground sentiment on what the public is saying about your business – which can help you address specific concerns in the near future.

How to avoid negative publicity:

  • Be proactive with your PR efforts. Don’t wait before a crisis strikes. Take control of your publicity early on by connecting with your community, share more about your products and services, talk about your company values and what you’re doing for social good. A loyal customer base can act as your ambassadors and further help spread the word.

  • Prepare for all possible scenarios. It’s important to prepare in advance for all possible scenarios that can come up. Consult your crisis communications team and formulate an internal communications procedure to pre-empt problems that can arise such as product or supplier issues. This team will help you navigate through all kinds of possible crises from your line of work, such as knowing the kind of statement you need to release in the event of a social media backlash, as well as briefing your stakeholders in advance.

  • Study how other companies have averted their own issues. Part of staying prepared is by studying how others have done in the past. Look into successful PR efforts; what worked for one brand and what didn’t work for another, and see what you can apply to your own company.

  • Set an example to your team. Be thoughtful of any gender or racial stereotypes your campaigns may be perpetuating. Better yet, genuinely advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace by promoting diversity in teams. Highlight to your teams the appropriate standards you expect them to adhere to in and out of the workplace, and follow through with clear, day-to-day actions.

Be prepared to deal with all kinds of publicity situations with a PR team that can strengthen your reputation and help you navigate through tricky issues. Trust your brand’s crisis with a reliable and savvy team of experienced PR practitioners that can help protect your brand’s reputation, monitor all conversations, and make your brand values resonate above it all.

Blue Totem Communications’ team of specialists proudly combines experience and know-how in effective and empathetic messaging that resonates with audiences. Our agency has also formed relationships with the most respected media partners across Singapore, Malaysia and Southeast Asia, helping brands foster trust and authenticity with their audiences.

Get in touch with us at today.

To celebrate 2021 International Women's Day, PR firm Blue Totem Communications helped beauty and skincare giant L'Oréal reaffirm its commitment to celebrate and empower all women with its #YouDeserveBetter anti-domestic violence campaign in Singapore

Family violence has become a more pressing issue since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Many domestic violence survivors may have become more socially isolated from friends, family, and neighbours and suffer in silence. Domestic violence is also stigmatised in Singapore, making it even harder for those experiencing violence at home to seek help.

For half a century, L'Oréal has stood for beauty and empowerment. It stands in solidarity with the brave survivors of domestic violence in Singapore who deserve better. The brand believes that beauty and self-care can empower women and that it is an important part of the healing journey of domestic violence survivors.

On the 8th of March 2021, International Women’s Day, public relations agency Blue Totem Communications helped L'Oréal launch its #YouDeserveBetter campaign to create public awareness of anti-domestic violence and make a difference in the lives of women survivors. We hoped that survivors would feel encouraged to speak out against the violence they 2endured and rebuild their confidence with broader public support.

Meaningful partnerships for social impact

L'Oréal partnered with United Women Singapore (UWS), a local non-profit organisation that advances women’s empowerment and gender equality, to connect with community partners that support domestic violence victims across Singapore. With a shared interest to help domestic violence survivors, L'Oréal and UWS came together with the community to bring L'Oréal’s #YouDeserveBetter campaign to life, a tangible way of showing these women that they deserve better.

With the help of UWS’s experience in women empowerment initiatives and its vast network of partners, Blue Totem Communications packaged and delivered 2,000 self-care kits from L'Oréal to beneficiaries in shelters and homes across Singapore. L’Oréal carefully curated these beauty and grooming kits to help encourage courageous domestic violence survivors and reinstill their confidence through self-care. UWS also distributed L'Oréal’s self-care kits to its network of women empowerment supporters to thank them for their efforts.

Wanting to break the silence surrounding domestic violence, Blue Totem Communications collaborated with UWS, beauty and lifestyle social media influencers and local media publications to openly discuss this critical social issue.

We worked with highly popular media house Mothership to reach a young and attuned audience interested in local stories and social issues. Mothership featured an inspiring story of a domestic violence survivor in Singapore who is committed to helping those experiencing violence at home to break free or seek help and encouraging others to lend a helping hand to survivors in need.

Influencer engagement was also crucial to growing awareness of domestic violence response in the digital realm. Beauty and lifestyle influencers with strong women empowerment values were eager to spread the word about the anti-violence cause. They also encouraged their followers to speak out against domestic violence and share ways to identify and help those experiencing violence at home. Followers who commented or shared messages that advocated anti-domestic violence and responses received L'Oréal’s self-care kits as a token of thanks.

Opening up about a serious social issue

L'Oréal’s International Women’s Day #YouDeserveBetter campaign sparked open and honest conversations in Singapore about domestic violence, a topic usually avoided because of social stigma.

14 media and social media influencers advocated the #YouDeserveBetter campaign on websites, Instagram, and Facebook, reaching a total of 3.5 million people! Notably, Singapore’s Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, and international news website Yahoo! published stories about the initiative. Singaporean actress and radio presenter Shamini Gunasagar also pitched in to drum up awareness of the cause on social media.

The Mothership profile feature was viewed by more than 100,000 people and had close to 1,000 likes and comments, which were mostly positive and uplifting.

Throughout the month of March, we saw people in Singapore share questions and comments about the challenges faced by survivors when leaving situations of violence in their lives and words of encouragement for all domestic violence survivors. Other survivors came forward to share how they managed to overcome similar hardships and encouraged others to do the same. Influencers even had a few friends and acquaintances reach out privately to confide about their trauma and experiences, some of which they have never told anyone before.

L'Oréal’s International Women’s Day #YouDeserveBetter influencer engagement and public relations campaign inspired open, meaningful conversations across various digital platforms. It was heartening to witness people in Singapore banding together to help break the silence behind domestic violence and remind those who are suffering that they do deserve better.

From fake news being paraded as facts online, to troll accounts and manipulated videos, social media and the internet have helped give rise to the age of misinformation.

While social media has truly revolutionised the way we connect with others and share content, this has also allowed unverified facts to emerge, and has provided extreme voices a platform to fabricate stories. And now, many people are listening––according to the Pew Research Center, 86 percent of adults receive their news on a mobile device, with 53 percent getting them from social media.

One important thing to note is that this is not an overnight phenomenon––trust in institutions and the mainstream media has been eroding for a while now, as alternative outlets become increasingly popular. Social media has also further shaped this behaviour by creating algorithms that further curate your feed based on your previous likes, shares, and comments. This, alongside feeding into increasing skepticism over mainstream outlets, also enables audiences to follow their preferred channels and feed into their confirmation bias, even as these channels purvey false information.

The current landscape is an uphill climb for the public relations industry. That said, PR agencies and practitioners have an enormous opportunity to help clients engage their audiences genuinely and effectively. As consumers become more socially conscious of businesses and their own purchases, PR teams can help dispel the public’s worries by helping these brands become forces for good. Here are the ways how public relations can help build brand trust amidst misinformation.

PR can help brands show support for consumer interests, instead of their own

The pandemic and lockdowns disrupted daily living as people feared for their health and economic safety. With jobs on the line and the possibility of contracting the virus on people’s minds, consumers expect brands to acknowledge and understand the events that impact the community. For brands, this means their communication efforts must be driven by purpose and value, aside from simply engaging their users in a creative way. Brands must focus on relevant and empathetic messaging that shows they understand consumers’ plights during these times.

Verizon Media’s Omnibus study reveals that 62% expect brands to make a positive impact on society during times of uncertainty or social unrest, while 70% are more likely to purchase and engage with brands if their values align. This survey shows that consumers want transparency and compassion from the brands they trust. When brands show empathy and support, consumers become more receptive to their messages.

PR can help create communities

These days, consumers crave authenticity from brands––a real, human voice that goes beyond commercial interests. Brand authenticity is linked to brand trust. As Millennial and Gen Z consumers become savvier about brand promotions and product claims, they demand higher transparency and commitment to their brand promises. They will support and patronise brands that know how to walk the talk and are consistent with their values.

This is where public relations comes in, as they help build a community of followers and people with like-minded interests who believe that this brand reflects their lifestyle and the causes they stand for. When real, everyday users show support for a brand, this comes off as more credible and genuine as opposed to sponsored posts by celebrity endorsers.

Creating and fostering a community also help brands develop direct relationships with users, building high engagement levels and establishing a brand’s trustworthiness.

PR can perform vetting of fitting and reputable media partners

With various voices––no matter how divisive or brash––being amplified and becoming popular on social media, it can be tempting to take advantage of the high metrics and explosive engagement levels. Yet it’s important to remember that fake and offensive news can cause harm to a brand’s reputation, losing their position to convey truthful messages.

PR teams can guide their clients in vetting and verifying their contact list, working with reputable news outlets and journalists, as well as independent influencers and thought leaders proven to be credible in their field. Thorough and trusted PR practitioners will also perform social listening and on-ground sentiment analysis in order to accurately assess the most reliable and fitting media partners your target audience trusts.

Working with established media partners helps build enduring value and maintain brand integrity, and allows brands to leverage the trust and relationships that publications have forged with their audiences. Conversely, media outlets and influencers known to work with truthful brands improve their reputation and strengthen their value proposition.

In the age of misinformation, brands need to create trust and communicate honestly with consumers to effectively tell their stories. PR teams can help brands navigate through this increasingly complicated landscape by fostering genuine connections and working with the right partners.

Blue Totem Communications’ team of specialists proudly combines experience and know-how in effective and empathetic messaging that resonates with communities. Our agency has also formed relationships with the most respected media partners across Singapore and Malaysia, helping brands foster trust and authenticity with their audiences. Get in touch with us at today.