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Newsletter #1015: The “Turn It Around” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Negative word of mouth, PR flubs, cavities — you can’t avoid them all, but some smart companies know what to do to turn them around and earn loyal fans and customers.

Here’s how:

1. Before something bad happens
2. After something bad happens
3. While something bad is happening
4. Check it out: If The Moon Were Only One Pixel

1. Before something bad happens

Everyone jokes about it, but one dentist couldn’t be more serious: Halloween is prime cavity season. So to help his community prevent an unnecessary visit to his office, Dr. Curtis Chan offered to buy back Halloween candy by the pound after the kids are done trick-or-treating. The candy he buys back is delivered to Operation Gratitude, a care package program for U.S. troops overseas.

The lesson: Doesn’t a dentist make more money when more kids need cavities filled? Sure. But what Dr. Chan’s doing is more important and more sustainable: earning the trust and respect of his potential customers.

Learn more: NPR

2. After something bad happens

Airbnb teamed up with Waterstones, the largest bookstore in London, to host a huge sleepover in their store. The inspiration for the idea: Once a customer was accidentally locked inside the store for a few hours after they had closed. It became a big news story because while the customer was trapped, he tweeted a cry for help that was retweeted over 16,000 times.

The lesson: A situation like this could be a huge PR debacle. But instead they used the momentum from the press to turn the negative situation around and do something cool for their customers.

Learn more: PSFK

3. While something bad is happening

After a Chevy rep fumbled a speech during the World Series saying their trucks had “technology and stuff” on live TV, the brand became the butt of a joke online. But just as quickly as #ChevyGuy and #TechnologyandStuff was trending, Chevrolet also became a part of the conversation — using the same hashtags to make light of the mess up while showing off the tech he was talking about.

The lesson: When something goes wrong, don’t be afraid to jump in, join the conversation, and not take yourself too seriously. (But do it fast.)

Learn more: Logic + Emotion

4. Check it out: If The Moon Were Only One Pixel

This interactive guide to our solar system gives some perspective on each planet’s relative size and distance apart if the moon were the size of a pixel.

Check it out: If The Moon Were Only One Pixel

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