When’s the best time to announce bad news?By Marjorie Comer
February 3, 2022
Companies have news that consumers aren’t going to like
Not all news a company shares will be perceived as positive or beneficial to the target audiences. Consumers will consider some news, such as closing a location, laying off employees, discontinuing a product, a supply chain or shipping delay, or increased prices, to be bad news. This type of news happens at times. So, when’s the best time to announce “bad” news?
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Traditionally, companies perceive late Friday afternoon to be the best time to announce bad news. Netflix recently showed us a better time to announce bad news is a Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend!
What Netflix did
On Jan. 14, 2022, Netflix announced its most recent price hike. Netflix opted to raise the monthly price by $1.50 for the standard subscription. This announcement came on the Friday of Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. It’s the first price hike since 2020. The increase makes Netflix the most expensive video-on-demand subscription service. Its price increase in 2011 for DVDs caused Twitter fodder; five years later an increase once again garnered much negativity. Yet, this holiday-weekend announcement didn’t have the same negative impact as previous announcements. We are still in the COVID-19 era, with money tight for many consumers, yet many still use streaming services, and there is more and more Netflix-created content.
For this story, we’re talking specifically about sharing bad news via external communications. It may not be best to announce bad news for your internal audiences like employees on Friday afternoon. Some say it’s better to announce negative internal news during the week so your audience has time to process it during working hours, versus having it linger on their minds all weekend outside the workplace — without access to conversations with colleagues. We recommend you consult your trusted HR advisors for insights on unique needs of internal audiences like employees.
If your company has bad news to share externally, here are some of the best practices for doing so:
- Develop an open, honest, and clear message.
- Keep it short and simple, aka be smart and be brief.
- Time your announcement with your critical audience in mind, not just what’s best for your brand.
- Think ahead and anticipate questions from employees, consumers, and news and social media.
- Consider balancing bad news with good news at the same time.
- Provide clear next steps by outlining the next course of action.
- Make the announcement on a Friday afternoon.
- Work with an expert PR firm.
If you find yourself and your company in a crisis, especially due to a poorly timed or poorly planned announcement, keep in mind:
- Focus on your target audience and its needs with empathy.
- Resist the urge to make it all about you.
- Assess the severity of the situation and get started with damage control.
- Be honest even when it’s difficult.
- Maintain your authenticity.
- Reinstate public trust and opinion with transparent communications.
If you are dealing with a crisis, consider downloading our Managing Public Relations In A Crisis e-book today.
Clients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.
Photo by AlphaTradeZone from Pexels
Topics: owned media, news media
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