False. (I also think the image is false, but it makes a point.) Public relations of the negative variety can be destructive, brand tarnishing, and irreversible. As can be seen in recent developments with a little company known as BP, any PR is definitely not good PR.
Now, I suppose this myth could hold some truth if you (as a company, brand, person, etc.) are not concerned with people liking you, buying your products or services, or advocating you to others. If you are concerned with those things, not all PR is good PR (and I assume you’re in this latter category because you’re here).
As I mentioned in a recent post, negative PR can spread far and wide (and quickly, for that matter) with the new and improved methods of communication the internet provides. Everyone and anyone can be an advocate for your brand or an opponent. This negative PR makes the public relations team work harder to not only preserve a brand but to also anticipate and try to diffuse a crisis online.
This is precisely the reason that not all PR is good PR. The reason for this myth being true in the past was that, despite the information going around being negative, people were still aware of you. (If awareness was all that mattered, we’d all be PR pros.) In order to generate interest in your company, to create buyers and loyal customers, your PR has to be positive. Negative PR may get people to your site, but it won’t make them jump on board with whatever you’re selling (product, idea, or otherwise).
Public Relations may differ from sales or marketing in a few ways, but the main reason may be that PR is concerned with the end result of the entire campaign. If the end result is not positive, though you may have had marginal success in some of the tactics employed throughout the plan, the campaign was not successful. The end result needs to be positive and successful. (To gauge that success, be sure to create benchmarks to set your plan’s results against.)
So, how do you make sure that your current PR is actually good PR for your website and your company? Take responsibility, and go for it. (the key is how you react and respond to a crisis.) If you see a piece of negative PR buzzing around the internet, do something to deter it. Can you remedy the situation by offering a strong answer? Can you change the minds of the naysaying WOM (word of mouth) spreaders by divulging information/facts/data? Can you offer a better solution to the unhappy customer? I’m sure you can probably do all of these.
The most important thing to do, however, is that first step aforementioned: take responsibility. No one cares if it’s not your fault; if the media is building you up to be the big bad wolf, that’s what you’ll be. Apologize regardless of the ownership of the problem, and get to work on telling of and creating a solution.