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Crisis communications for a retail brand

Crisis

Decade-old damaging news and negative reviews

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The Case

Our client is a global beauty brand with a presence in the Middle East.

Over the years we have been tasked with a number of exciting objectives ranging from perception change, brand awareness, and media relations.

One of the issues we were tasked with was an online reputation management crisis due to decade-old news suddenly threatening the launch of a new range of products.

Objectives

Objectives

The objectives that were set out for us were:

Achieve 50% positive brand messages on page 1 of Google search

Negative articles to be pushed beyond page 2 of Google searches.

Maintain positive brand image

Preserve online reputation

Challenges

Challenges
  • Negative online search results appeared on the top five pages or 30% of Google’s results

  • Damaging news articles appearing on high domain authority sites which made it difficult to outrank in search

  • The brand’s credibility was being put at risk

  • 100% removal of all negative content was not possible

Research

Decade old newspaper articles reporting that some of the products produced and sold by the brand at the time were banned in the UAE. The reports were factual and many other well-known brands were affected by the same ban. The company immediately removed those products from its offerings.

The newspaper reports, in particular, posed an imminent threat. This is because the company was just getting ready to launch a brand new line of products in the same category as the products banned a decade ago.

Of course, the new range of products did not contain any of the banned ingredients.

Strategy

Strategy

Damage control through suppression and generating enough content to suppress the negative reviews/feedback in time before the upcoming product launched

Reputation management through negative content dilution

Introducing a blogging/content creation culture that would regularly generate positive content to dilute any damaging online content

  • Damage Control

  • Reputation Management

  • User generated content

Execution

Execution

Keyword Analysis

  • Our first task was to identify the keywords most problematic to the client’s reputation.

    We studied the keywords and figured out a search pattern. We also studied the profiles and results of competitors and compared them to our clients’.

    Through comprehensive online research, we identified the relevant keywords that needed to be targeted.

Narrow the list of keywords

  • From the original list of over 20 keywords, we narrowed the list to 10 keywords that were identified as highest priority.

    We decided to focus resources on the phrases that generated over 75% of negative web searches.

    These search phrases returned negative search results in high-profile publications, online newspapers, and other online web destinations.

High Domain Authority Sites

  • The team researched and identified the high domain authority sites from the list. It selected those that had the highest probability of influencing with brand content and then created a matrix of web properties to improve or create from scratch.

Results

Results

Within six months we achieved the following:

Page 1 on Google Search Results for keywords

75% positive messages related to the brand for the specific keywords seeded on page 1 of the Google search.

Negative articles beyond page 3

Pushed the old articles and negative reviews to beyond page 3 of Google searches for the keywords.

Page 1 results for Brand searches

The brand now controls 75% of first-page search results for its branded searches.

Reputation Improvement Plan

The team then created a six-month online reputation management plan

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