There are those who are of the belief that any publicity is good publicity – even if it’s bad. I don't believe that a bad story about you can be "good" publicity, but there may be a way to spin it to your advantage making you the trend-setter, expert in the field or even the preferred provider for that particular product or service. As with most difficult situations in life, it’s what you do with it that matters most.
For instance, back in the ’80’s, when someone was going around putting poison in bottles of Tylenol in drugstores, it could have been the end of that brand name. Instead, Tylenol took the initiative: They recalled their product off store shelves. They invented a tamper-evident security system for their bottles which we now take for granted (and maybe even hate when we can’t get out precious medicine out of a new bottle when a throbbing headache is rendering us useless). Their system has been improved over the years and is now ubiquitous across the board for medications and food items. Tylenol is still alive and thriving today. In fact, they’ve outlived their competitor from that time period, Datril.
Bad publicity is bad. It tells the world about an oversight, a bad decision, a potential sabotage threat, or an out-and-out failure on the part of your company. It’s how you respond to that publicity that could be the make or break for your company’s survival.
And don’t forget that social media outlets are an integral part of the overall publicity picture as the traditional news media. Got a bad review on Yelp or Facebook? It’s how people see you respond that can determine if they will give you a first chance or a second chance or just walk away into your competitor’s arms.