What Maleficent can teach us about Business Reputation Management


You know how they say that in business, any kind of publicity – good or bad – is still good publicity?

Well, that’s not always true.

When a business name is smeared with a negative image, it can become a permanent mark, depending on the gravity of the issue. So it’s not always wise to rely on any type of publicity just to gain recognition.

Have you seen Disney’s latest offering, Maleficent?

When the movie was being promoted a year ago, it was unclear whether the story would revolve around a full-fledged villain or whether it will introduce a new perspective on how the popular Sleeping Beauty character has come to be.

It’s not the first time that a movie’s antagonist carried the titular character, but the story of Maleficent can give us lessons on how to manage one’s business reputation effectively:

There are always two sides to every story.

We grew up always knowing who the villain was, but now Maleficent opens up to a whole new context. When certain business issues abound, don’t just listen to the story version that suits your personal or organizational beliefs. Handle negative criticisms by understanding where these points are coming from, and you might just be surprised that sometimes, they could be right.

Influence can be used for either good or bad.

Maleficent always had a choice, she just didn’t realize it in the beginning. Just like any other business, the level of influence and power you have over your industry may be a tool for establishing a positive, enduring legacy, or it may also be an instrument for destroying a reputation. You have the choice, the challenge lies on the shoulders of marketers.

Emotions can cause bad decisions.

Consistent with all fairy tales, hatred and revenge can turn someone into a villain. Marketers and business owners cannot afford to let emotions dictate the actions of their business. Emotions should only be used when trying to understand your target market and their needs, but when it comes to making decisions, everything should be thought-out using a sound mind.

Sometimes, the hero and the villain are one and the same. (Spoiler alert)

When it was Maleficent’s kiss (not the Prince’s) that woke Aurora from her sleep, the villain has also become the hero. The world is not divided into black and white. Sometimes, to achieve a higher purpose, people resort to crooked ways. Yes, the end does justify the means. Your business is not perfect. The key is to look for that balance between shooting for your goals and understanding the risks involved in getting there.