When it comes to corporate reputation, good news can travel fast, but we all know the news media likes a bad news story. It’s even better if bad news can raise the spectre of doom and destruction, be it physical or economic.
If the news media can keep its audience worried about an issue, chances are the audience will come back to find out more. When an audience is hungry for a story, the media makes a buck.
The wall-to-wall coverage of actual or feared job losses at Holden, Toyota, SPC Ardmona and Qantas reflects the reality that bad news is big news.
In all of the wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, with political players staking out positions, one simple fact is forgotten: economies change.
From SMH Economic Editor Ross Gittins in his March 5 comment: “Most people have no idea how much turnover there is in the jobs market. Every month tens of thousands of people leave their jobs and a similar or bigger number take up new jobs. The economy is in a continuous state of flux.”
The economy is an active and living process. To focus on the bad news story overlooks the job gains that take place as part of normal economic renewal.
So what to do if your company has good news to announce?
The risk to corporate reputation from job losses ensures that significant resources are allocated to managing such announcements. However, companies often let good news slip out without the degree of thought and planning that is attached to the not so good news.
In the current political and economic environment, governments of all levels and persuasions are looking for good news stories, particularly if jobs are attached. What may seem relatively unremarkable in corporate terms could hold significant positive news implications.
Allowing for the engagement of appropriate resources to maximise the good news value of any major initiative or expansion should be on the agenda of all corporate communicators.
With bad news, the best that can be done is to minimise the damage. With good news, the worst that can be done is to ignore it.
Working hard on your next good news announcement will ensure your name appears in the news for the right reasons and buys the public good will that can come in handy when things may not be so bright.