Legal Marketing Blog

Is There Such a Thing as Bad PR?

Posted by Jennifer Macqueen

That old saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is a well-known cliché. But is it a cliché for good reason? After all, so the thinking goes, if people are talking about you, that can’t be a bad thing, no matter what the reason. Such is the power of branding and name recognition. And there certainly is an element of truth to this theory. But there is a point at which the damage sustained by “negative” publicity will begin to erode any potential benefits to be gained from the recognition.

Sometimes this threshold can be difficult to identify and depends a great deal on the image a person or entity is trying to project. Outrageous behavior might work for a tabloid celebrity whose livelihood depends on keeping his or her name in the public eye at any cost, but one need only look to the plethora of recent cases involving corporate malfeasance to know that the line is much starker in the business world. It is, for example, very doubtful that Volkswagen is enjoying much benefit from the press around its emission-testing cheating scandal. In fact, on top of the large hit to sales the company has suffered, it now faces a civil action by the Department of Justice that could cost it up to $48 billion, according to a recent article in The Economist.

Avoiding Marketing and Public Relations Pitfalls

The legal business world presents its own unique marketing and public relations challenges. This is especially true when it comes to the increasingly important role social media plays in marketing and corporate identity. Many legal professionals may be unaware of some of the legal ethical constraints that apply to social media usage and other online activities. In fact, social media posts and even profiles may constitute legal advertising in many jurisdictions, making them subject to the same restrictions placed on more traditional marketing channels. Other potential miscues to avoid may include, but certainly aren’t limited to the following:

  • Inadvertently making false or misleading statements
  • Disclosing privileged or confidential information
  • Inadvertently creating attorney-client relationships

Despite the pitfalls, social media and other online marketing channels have become essential marketing and branding tools in the crowded and competitive legal landscape.

Call the PR Experts at Firm Evolution 

Firm Evolution carries a unique expertise in public relations and media relations issues faced by law firms. When you need help crafting a messaage – for positive PR or crisis communications – give Firm Evolution a call.

We provide a wide range of public relation and marketing services in Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Madison, Wisconson. We focus on the needs, goals and differentiating aspects of each law firm client. Our emphasis is on the big picture—leveraging the strengths of the individual attorneys, practice groups and overall firm on all fronts. We work closely with our clients to ensure that all components of their marketing program—from press releases and marketing plans, to website and Internet campaigns—provide a strong foundation for maintaining existing clients and developing new ones. Contact Firm Evolution at 206.321.3220 to learn more.