“There’s no such thing as bad publicity”
"Bad publicity is good publicity"
These quotes are true if you don’t care about your brand. Your brand is what people think of you and what they associate you with. It is their opinions, connections, and connotations. If people are "hatin' on" and complaining about your product, about how awful it is, how low quality it is, and you think all that noise is a good thing just because its noise you're completely wrong.
If someone were to say “I just had the most horrible day ever thanks to Delta Airlines. First, Delta cancelled my flight. Then, Delta made me buy a ticket for another flight. Then, Delta lost my luggage and after landing we sat on the Delta plane for another hour waiting to dock and unload”.
How does that make you feel about that product? Sound like something you want to use/experience? Would saying "Delta" more times make it better?
You can’t go around ignoring the bad publicity and negative comments (if they're warranted) thinking just because your name is being said that it’s making you relevant or making a good impression.
It is building your brand though. Whatever direction it's going, it's always moving. If your publicity is crap, your brand is crap, and then no one cares about how good your product might be. Brand isn't everything, but it's almost everything.
Forget the hypothetical airline example. Just look at what has happened with SeaWorld. Since the documentary 'Blackfish' came out (highly recommended watching) the company has tried to shift their brand focus to the good things they do with rescuing animals and spin their Orca show as a way to protect the whales from the dangers of the open sea. It was not enough.
The company has recently experienced record losses, laid off workers, and the CEO has stepped down. All of this from a film that shed light on the companies practices and redefined the brand in the public's mind.
Bad publicity = bad brand.