Can Bad Publicity Be Good for Your Brand?

When can bad press actually be good for you? It’s been debated for decades by PR professionals, but a recent New York Times article by Rob Walker (author of the excellent Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are) highlights some Wharton School research that breaks it down:

  • If you’re relatively unknown, bad press can be helpful because people forget what  they heard about you. Net result? Higher name recognition.
  • Unfortunately, if you already have a strong brand, negative publicity usually hurts, because people are more likely to remember the distasteful context.

Now that there’s proof that “bad press” works, watch out for even more legions of wannabes fighting for a reality TV slot…!

Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, Yale University, and the National Park Service. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.