Maintaining Your Brand in a Crisis
When trouble finds you, keep your brand safe. It’s all you’ve got.
There are endless possibilities in which a successful, reputable business can find itself in crisis, but one of the most harmful things that can befall a company is bad PR. And if you ever find yourself catching some bad publicity (from a slew of negative Yelp reviews to something much bigger and badder), you’ve got to step up and handle it. Here are a few tips for maintaining your brand in a crisis:
Have a Plan
Hopefully you’ll never need it, but developing a crisis management plan is a proactive practice for managing future problems. Here, you’ll outline roles and communication tactics for senior leaders and staff, from spokesperson delegation to policies for speaking with the media. The goal is to prepare your team so that no one reacts defensively and everyone is versed in the appropriate response techniques. Obviously, this should be created in tandem with message training — ensuring your people know how to speak with the voice of the brand, even in troubling times.
Being transparent and open with media and consumers is key to keeping your head above water when the flood waters roll in. Your audience wants to trust you and they want you to feel like you can trust them, so let the public know that you’ve acknowledged the problem and you’re working to fix it. We all want to be spoken to like adults and when a company releases a sincere, accountable statement, we feel respected.
Use Social Media
Social media is the only form of media that requires engagement. We expect businesses to not only have a presence, but to also be active participants in the socialsphere. And after an incident, many of us will turn to a company’s Facebook or Twitter for answers. When those answers aren’t being addressed, all hell breaks loose. So the best thing for a company to do is get right out in front of the issue and start crafting thoughtful, honest status updates so people know you’re not ignoring the problem. Going dark is a bad decision and can usually lead to irreversible brand damage because it looks like you’re being cowardly or dishonest.
Maintaining your brand in a crisis is immeasurably important because your brand and the reputation you’ve worked so hard to uphold is pretty much all you’ve got.
Shameless Plug #1: We’re doing our first RUSSO-hosted webinar on Tuesday June 30, 2015 (one at 10AM and one at 4PM) and we want you to be there. It’s called Developing Digital Citizens and it’s about keeping your kids safe on social media and the web at-large.
Shameless Plug #2: Download our 7 Tips For Improving Your Website eBook and learn more about avoiding the pitfalls of weak websites.