In my career I have had the good fortune of getting to know and work with Ken Blanchard, bestselling business author of all time and creator of The One Minute Manager.  One of the great things that Ken has always said to me is that you cannot always be catching people doing things wrong, you also need to highlight when people are doing things right.  It’s for that reason that since I did point out the recent challenges Stanton Brothers had been having in proving sires, that I  also highlight when they are doing things right.

Under pressure from recent  publicity, including an article here on the Bullvine that pointed out that since the introduction of genomics the average Stanton Brother proven sire had actual daughter performance approximately 712 LPI  lower than their parent averages (Read more – The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling), Stanton’s’ placed an ad in the recent Holstein Journal with some interesting Facts and Stats – as follows:

  • #1 Red Proven Sire
  • #1 GPA LPI Conformation Sire
  • #2 GPA LPI Sire Released in Canada
  • 15 Cows on the Top 100 GLPI list
  • 16 Heifers on the Top 100 GPA LPI Under 9 Month Old List
  • 19 Heifers on the Top 100 GPA LPI Over 9 Month Old List
  • 3 Heifers on the Top 12 GPA LPI Polled List
  • 135 Head Over +2200 GTPI

I love that Stanton Brothers have taken this proactive approach.  However, it did slightly miss the mark as most of these animals are still unproven and the publicity was about the inability to convert from unproven to proven.  As well, many on this list are from recent purchases of females (Read more – Genetics by Design Crosses the $4,000,000 Mark) and not proven sires.

Nevertheless we commend  Stanton Brothers for taking a proactive approach to managing their PR and continued investment in top genetics. Everyone needs an action plan for dealing with negative publicity.  We would recommend the following five steps:

  1. Look into the problem
    Identify the cause, if it’s not obvious. Get experts to verify/debunk any claims/rumors before making a public statement. The best way to regain credibility   is to quash unsubstantiated rumors with hard-hitting facts.  If the bad publicity is based on facts as this is, best to move on to #2.
  2. Acknowledge mistakes.
    If you’re receiving negative publicity because you made a mistake, people will trust you more if you own up to any issues, rather than if you attempt to cover up what happened. “That way they understand that if there is ever [another] problem, they can trust that you can be approached about it.”
  3. Get on Facebook
    The vast majority of conversation these days is occurring on Facebook.  Instead of just hitting the few thousand magazine subscribers, hit the tens of thousands that are online talking.  It’s more than just having a Facebook page, it`s about joining the community and taking part in the conversation.  (Read more – 7 Reasons Why Your Dairy Farm Needs to be on Facebook)
  4. Enlist supporters to speak on your behalf.
    You can’t underestimate the power of satisfied clients. When negative publicity surfaces, your loyal customers are often your best advocates.  It is best if you can get these people to comment right at the source of the bad publicity.  On the other hand, don`t leave them hanging out there on their own.
  5. Follow up continually
    After the initial storm has subsided, do not let up with re-building your image.  Once dented, your image will be vulnerable to attacks for some time to come.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Negative publicity is never easy to deal with.  With the introduction of social media things have greatly amplified (Read more – How Social Media is Changing The Holstein World).  It’s no longer just a couple of people talking over the bulk tank, it’s thousands of people talking around the world.  When bad publicity happens you need to act fast.  Even for breeders who have not faced the challenge of negative publicity, it is still important to have a public relations strategy in order to promote your herd (Read more – Marketing Lessons from Glen Drummond Aero Flower).  You absolutely must stay engaged!

To learn more about how to get your farm on Facebook download the Dairy Breeders Guide to Facebook