Although they hate to admit it, the media is loving the doom and gloom that is smeared through each of its channels. "Thank god the economy sucks - we finally have a story that doesn't involve that old war (where is that again?) or those [insert local sports team name here]". Instead they can focus on how the fall of Wall Street and gross mismanagement of the world's leading industries are dragging down our local businesses.
So what do you do when that target lands on your company?
How about this:
1) Don't get a response drafted and released by your lawyers or a PR team.
2) Try (even if it hurts) to be a human, rather than a company.
3) Talk to the people who matter most. Hint: that's not the media.
What do I know about being a target for doom and gloom media? Nothing. But Nova Scotian Crystal does. After seeking debt protection for a slow Q4 2008, the local media jumped on this industry gem like a fly on crap.
The response: a well crafted, human letter that went to loyal/paying customers. It gets a bit formal at the end, but the language is in conversation form. The tone is frank and sincere. Nova Scotian Crystal even asks for customers to buy from them as that's what it takes to stay in business (Holy Sh*t! That's just crazy).
Here's the letter in its entirety that was sent to a colleague of mine. Awesome example of how to be a better business.