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#07 Seven Strategic Moves To Rise Above Fake News: Quick Actions for Long-Term Trust.

The speed at which information spreads today requires a rapid response.

Governments and organizations need to be able to disseminate information in real time to counter rumors and misinformation.

It’s not just about the truth; it’s about maintaining the hard-earned trust and loyalty of your audience. 

So, what should you do when fake news hits you and your reputation is hanging by a thread?

As a victim of fake news, your corporate image is at stake.

Let’s walk through seven strategic steps, reflecting on real-life examples of global brands.

1. Strike Back with Speed: Combat Misinformation with Rapid Professionalism.

In 2017, Pepsi found itself under fire when they released a commercial many thought was tone-deaf. The advertisement featured Kendall Jenner offering a Pepsi to a police officer during a protest, a scene reminiscent of real-life Black Lives Matter protests.

However, the ad’s light-hearted tone made it seem they were making light of serious issues.

An image from a Pepsi ad posted on YouTube, starring Kendall Jenner and featuring the song “Lions” by Skip Marley Credit: Pepsi Global, via YouTube.

The soda giant didn’t waste time. They immediately pulled the ad, sent out apologies, and connected with the public to make their intentions clear.

And while it was a challenging time for Pepsi, their rapid response likely saved them from even deeper brand damage.

You need to jump into action the moment you spot misinformation. Use every communication tool you have, like your website, social media, emails, and press releases, to set the record straight. It’s essential because acting fast and professionally keeps misinformation from spreading and harming your reputation. By doing this, you’ll maintain the trust and credibility your audience has in you, which means sustained relationships and a loyal customer base.

2. Nail the Truth with Fact Verification and Detailed Documentation.

Apple, in 2017, was under scrutiny for allegedly slowing down older iPhone models.

Apple agrees to $500 million settlement for throttling older iPhones | News clip:

They actively addressed these allegations with factual evidence, clear explanations, and comprehensive documentation supporting their stance.

Apple’s meticulous approach in providing and documenting facts assured customers of their credibility and transparency, thus preserving their market dominance and sustaining customer trust and loyalty.

Gather all the evidence that supports your side of the story and document any false claims meticulously. Because being factually accurate strengthens your credibility and helps you debunk misinformation quickly. This practice will foster trust and reinforce your reputation, putting you in a solid position in your industry.

3. Engage in Respectful Online Conversations:

Netflix, in 2019, raised eyebrows (and blood pressures) when they decided to up their prices.

‘Time to cancel and switch to Hulu!’ Social media erupts in OUTRAGE after Netflix raises its subscription prices from $11 to $13 a month | News clip:

The internet was awash with critiques. But, instead of hunkering down, Netflix took to the online streets.

They jumped into discussions, offered explanations, and handled concerns with utmost respect. Their approach showed they valued customer opinions, and in doing so, they preserved their brand’s image in the public eye.

Join conversations on the internet to correct misinformation and explain your perspective, always being respectful and factual. Engaging with others online helps to address concerns directly and show you’re transparent and open. This means a respectful and clear online presence will enhance your brand image and deepen your relationships with stakeholders.

4. Partnership with Fact-Checkers for Authenticity Validation:

The partnership press: Lessons for platform-publisher collaborations as Facebook and news outlets team to fight misinformation | News clip: Columbia Journalism Review.

Facebook continually partners with third-party fact-checkers to scrutinize and flag content on their platform, reducing the circulation of misinformation. This proactive approach ensures that content reliability is maintained.

By aligning with fact-checkers, Facebook underlines its commitment to providing credible content, thereby earning user trust and safeguarding its reputation amidst a sea of online platforms.

Work closely with independent fact-checkers and use reputable platforms to confirm information authenticity. Having a third party verify claims adds another layer of credibility, building increased trust and reliability in your information and solidifying your brand reputation.

5. Explore Legal Avenues for Serious Offenses:

In 2018, Tesla’s dynamic CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted certain statements which raised SEC’s eyebrows. While Musk’s tweets often make headlines, these particular ones landed Tesla in legal hot waters.

Credit: Newsclip by

The solution? They turned to legal professionals for guidance, showing brands worldwide the importance of swift legal intervention in preserving reputation.

When misinformation is seriously damaging, it’s time to explore your legal options. Sometimes legal action is necessary to deal with severe damages to your reputation. This will not only protect your brand image but will also act as a deterrent to future misinformation attacks.

6. Long-Term Reputation Maintenance:

Johnson & Johnson, renowned for its transparent communication, particularly during product recalls, is a prime example of a brand investing in long-term reputation management.

This strategic investment in reputation management has allowed Johnson & Johnson to sustain its brand integrity and consumer trust, paving the way for its enduring presence in the market.

Keep being transparent and credible, focusing on maintaining good communication and relationships with your stakeholders. This long-term investment is key to sustaining your brand’s integrity and trustworthiness, leading to better stakeholder relations and sustained brand value over time.

7. The Early Bird Catches the… Fake News

Google has established advanced monitoring to detect early signs of misinformation, particularly during sensitive times like elections, to prevent the propagation of fake news on its services.

Google’s emphasis on early detection and swift response ensures the credibility of its platforms, enabling a quicker restoration of public trust and establishing a reliable space for information.

Set up systems to detect fake news as soon as it emerges. Early detection lets you act immediately, limiting the spread and impact of misinformation. This means less damage to your brand and quicker restoration of public trust.


Misinformation requires a multifaceted approach.

You must act swiftly, verify meticulously, converse respectfully, align strategically, consult judiciously, invest sustainably, and detect early.

Adhere to these principles, and you’ll construct an impenetrable fortress around your reputation.

Whenever you’re ready there are 3 ways I can help you:

  • Build a comprehensive crisis communication handbook.
  • Seek expert advice for ongoing crisis mitigation.
  • Prepare your team for potential crises.

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