Every Monday, Breaking Even looks at a business, website, or non-profit doing cool things online. Have an idea? Contact me and let me know!

It’s easy to do the whole internet marketing bit when things are going well but what about when you have a PR disaster? How do you handle bad press about your company when you’ve made yourself very available online?

Jet Blue had an employee freak out on them last week. He’s been getting tons of press and I don’t feel a need to give him any more.

That said, I do need to say how Jet Blue has handled it seems really great.

They’re keeping calm and carrying on.
The natural instinct when something doesn’t go your way is to disappear for awhile. But JetBlue continues their Twitter customer service and Facebook notifications about news and events.

They briefly and professionally addressed it on their company blog.
It would be weird to completely ignore the controversy but what should you say when you don’t want to be libelous or strangely silent? Read the great blog post solution called ‘Sometimes the weird news is about us…’ They aknowledged what happened and thanked their great employees.

This is bound to make it into some kind of ‘Letters for any occasion’ book.

Commenters may want the flight attendant rehired (or otherwise compensated) but not many people seem to be attacking JetBlue.
Comments were mixed about the incident but while people expressed opinions, many said they ‘still love Jet Blue’ or called it ‘my favorite airline’. Overall, ideally what you’d want to happen when your company does something ‘controversial’.

If you are a third party, might as well capitalize on a cultural phenomena (read: strike while the iron’s hot).
Want a t-shirt commemorating the incident? Choose from dozens of designs.
Want to watch an animation of the event? Check out this recreation in CG animation.
Basically, you could Google the name Steven Slater and any product you’d want and find some entrepreneurial person who’s set up a website around it. And hey, you’ve got to admire that on some level.

So just because you’ve made yourself accessible online, doesn’t mean you can’t handle it when things don’t go your way as a company. Take it from Jet Blue: be excellent, be professional, and realize this could happen to anyone.

Need marketing help?