Legal suits will not help win trust of consumers: PR expert

PETALING JAYA: Legal suits will not help you win the trust of consumers and enhance brand reputation, said Public Relation Global Network president Andy See (pic).

Instead, he emphasised the necessity of aligning communication efforts with business objectives and address evolving communication trends and issues globally.

“I would think from a consumer point of view, I think it’s important that you win the trust of the consumers through engagement and communication. Legal suit will not help you win the trust of consumers. I would say if you talk to me about how to win consumers, I wouldn’t choose the legal approach. To me, winning consumers is about engagement, about communication,” See told Sunbiz in an interview.

However, See noted the complexities that arise when a brand’s actions or communications as it can be considered acceptable in one cultural context but can be perceived differently or even negatively in another.

“Whatever you do may be politically incorrect. You do something in the US, it could be a political minefield here in Malaysia. So you will get boycotts, you will get consumer uproar.”

These are things brands need to navigate very carefully although he doesn’t think there is a foolproof way, he said.

“But it’s just that when we do something, we need to be aware that there are repercussions. Well, of course, sometimes you have no choice.”

See said the effectiveness of communication depends on how well it serves the original
goals and purposes established within an organisation.

“Clarity regarding our goals and desired outcomes is paramount. If our communication efforts allow us to achieve our business objectives, then they can be considered successful. And if they fall short of helping us in reaching our desired outcomes, it means there is a need for refinement,” he said.

He cited that McDonald’s Malaysia, through its franchise owner Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd, initiated legal action against BDS Malaysia last year and sought damages and injunctions in response to the movement’s calls for boycotting McDonald’s.

However on March 22, McDonald’s Malaysia announced the withdrawal of the lawsuit following the positive outcome of the mediation between the parties.

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