How to Rebuild Your Brand and Recover from a Reputation Crisis
According to a Deloitte poll, 88 percent of brand executives consider reputation risk to be a top strategic business concern. When your organization faces a reputation crisis, you must act quickly to restore your public image.
Otherwise, your brand could lose market value and become a financial quagmire. So, how can brand executives avoid reputational harm that could lead to catastrophic occurrences such as bankruptcy, liquidation, or insolvency? This article delves into the brand reputation issue and offers an eight-step approach for averting the crisis and regaining control of your image.
After a disaster, how do you manage your brand’s reputation?
1. Determine the extent of the damage
When your company faces a reputation crisis, the first step is to analyze the severity of the situation. This is the point at which you take a step back and assess the extent of the damage. You should assess changes in corporate reputation, a drop in perception among employees and stakeholders, and a negative attitude toward the organization to determine how severe the matter is. Identifying any executives or specific brand entities who are directly accountable for the incident during the initial investigation is critical. Remember the brand problem is reflected online, so keep an eye on the situation on social media and Google search results.
Non-media indicators, such as sales success, profitability, and share prices, will also need to be recorded. All responses to customer and media inquiries are built on a thorough assessment of the situation and its impact on the brand. Throughout the rehabilitation process, how stakeholders react is critical. To properly navigate a company crisis, you must have all the information on hand while carefully separating facts from falsehoods. This stage entails all of the above.
2. Make contact with important stakeholders and investors.
After clearly understanding the current scenario, it’s time to express the crises’ impact. Significant stakeholders in your brand should be the first individuals to be appeased. Business partners, investors, customers, and other key stakeholders are among them. Here, it would be best if you formally described how events unfolded, culminating in the catastrophe. Also, inform them of your steps to fix the matter. How well you engage, key stakeholders will determine your ability to bring the firm back into harmony.
Look no further for examples of reputation crises and how organizations dealt with them. In July 2019, for example, Twitter was hacked, and accounts of well-known public figures were utilized in a cryptocurrency scam. Before going to the press, Twitter Support informed all affected users and the Twitter community about what had happened and how they were dealing with the matter. Always endeavor to be truthful while notifying customers about what transpired. Otherwise, you will destabilize the situation and jeopardize the public’s faith. When Target experienced a significant security breach in 2011, they attempted to downplay the number of credit card details stolen at first, which damaged their reputation when the actual statistics revealing the true intrusion were disclosed.
3. Plan your media outreach approach carefully.
After a crisis, the goal of any reputation management plan is to shape public perception. Part of this will entail utilizing the media, with brand leaders issuing a public statement and selecting the appropriate individual to deliver it. Because you’re defending your brand’s position in the court of public opinion, this may not be as simple as it sounds. As a result, you must be aware of the influence of your press release. In most cases, one of these three scenarios will apply while communicating with the media.
The first time this happens is when your brand is at fault. You must admit and accept responsibility for your error at this point. Trying to hide the facts or shift blame to someone else will only damage your brand’s reputation. As a result, apologize to the public, stating that you are aware of the error and that your company is fully dedicated to correcting the issue. Another scenario is when you are not to blame. You don’t just give up, accept the responsibility, and make a half-hearted apologies here.
The general public may perceive your brand as weak, which can be destructive. Instead, take a stand and defend your brand’s viewpoint. The third case is when a mistruth is disseminated online or by local news channels, causing reputational damage. While requesting a retraction may appear beneficial, it is preferable to take a more collaborative approach by politely apologizing and sharing the correct version with the responsible journalist or writer.
This will increase public trust and foster better understanding. It’s worth noting that not every issue necessitates contacting the media. You may be able to distance yourself from media inquiries in some cases and just respond when you are able.
4. Put a heavy emphasis on internal communication.
During a crisis, your employees are the best brand representatives you have. As a leader, you should ensure that all employees are aware of the reputation crisis and why it occurred. You should also empower them to take corrective action to help alleviate the high-pressure scenario. While not every employee can aggressively protect your brand, you may start by selecting and educating the most enthusiastic. You may motivate people using awards and incentives in addition to training. The ultimate goal is to create a culture in which all employees can preserve the brand image in advance of a crisis.
5. Make changes to your social media response strategy.
In today’s socially-driven society, almost 65 percent of business leaders believe social media can exacerbate a brand issue. Taking control of your communication platforms, on the other hand, can help you speed up the restoration process. This includes managing discussions on your website’s connected blogs, social media channels, review sites, and other online platforms. You should, as expected, issue a formal apology on all of these platforms.
The apology should be short and to the point. When Starbucks apologized for a racist event, they did this. Alternatively, you might create a video in which a senior executive, such as the CEO, delivers the apology message. Following the release of a statement, you must keep track of all hashtags and keywords that mention your company. You can use a social monitoring tool to get notified whenever someone mentions your brand online.
It will be easier to respond to all comments quickly this way. When it comes to preserving strong customer relationships, demonstrating to the online community that you care about the situation can truly pay off. Always be consistent while replying to internet messages. You should ensure that any future comments match the initial statement’s brand perspective.
6. When dealing with public concerns, maintain transparency.
With all of the negative content that blew up your image in the first place, repairing your reputation after a crisis is typically a challenge. This usually entails reviewing your content, eliminating it, concealing harmful stuff, and publishing positive content on a regular basis. Your company’s reputation is built on your delivery, not your promises when you deal with content. Clients must have confidence in your ability to cope effectively with the current problem before they will continue to work with your company. Here, you must show how you’re resolving the issue in a transparent manner. If you make any promises during a crisis, make sure to follow through on them if you want your company to survive.
7. Restore the company’s essential values and trustworthiness.
In today’s business world, one of the distinguishing criteria of success is trust. This is why, in order to successfully repair your brand’s reputation after a disaster, you must regain consumer trust. Even if you think you’ve got everything under control, don’t let up. Instead, ensure your brand communicates positive aspects like accreditations, financial stability, longevity, and all previous favorable comments. This is an opportunity for the brand to speak with one voice to the public while showcasing its fundamental values. Customers should be reminded of the company’s success over the years and what it took to achieve that. The bottom line here is reassuring customers of your dedication and demonstrating the steps you’ve taken to secure future success.
8. Consider the future
When the public relations crisis is resolved, and everyone is relieved and looking forward to getting back to normal, keep in mind that there’s one more thing to accomplish. This is how you plan for the future of your company. The crisis should be used to determine how you can protect your brand’s reputation in the future.“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to destroy it,” Warren Buffet reportedly stated.
As a result, every brand should implement a solid plan to ensure that a similar catastrophe does not arise in the future. To safeguard your brand in the future, you can improve your internal processes, train workers ahead of time, and create a reputation crisis management plan.
It needs a sound strategy, intense dedication, and self-discipline to rebuild a reputation after a disaster. Some enemies will always wish to see your brand crumble in today’s highly competitive world. You should not, however, use a single brand reputation disaster to define your failure. Use the suggestions above to restore your brand’s reputation and emerge stronger.
Rebuilding your reputation is extremely difficult, make one small mistake in the process and you will fail. You can trust Amicus International Consulting to deliver a safe, legal, and secure plan to restore your reputation.