Crisis management and how to protect your brand
No matter what your industry, product or service, there may come a time when there is a threat to your brand.
That threat could be through a product failure (Vodafone and the Vodafail era), a service issue (Priceline’s staff who racially profiled a group of young African girls) or missing important and public targets (Centrelink and their hold-times) or because your brand has been directly or indirectly attacked by a competitor. With social media, these issues can go viral, very quickly.
So what do you do in the face of a crisis?
Firstly – don’t wait until then. Insure yourself by creating a crisis management document. Ensure you include:
- Who should be informed once the crisis has been identified
- Who leads the response
- The formats for response (PR release, website apology, email to clients, phone-calls to clients, social media etc.)
- Key stakeholders to manage (e.g. board, major clients, professional associations etc.)
- A code of conduct – it’s very easy to respond from a place of outrage or anger or fear. Ensuring calm and professional responses is paramount.
Once the crisis has hit – ensure that you follow your process and don’t react impulsively.
- Try to get out in front of the story – get the facts straight, and ensure that everyone is ‘singing from the same song sheet’
- Acknowledge the issue and outline the steps you are taking to deal with it – this might be a solution, or a plan to gather more information as a method of arriving at a solution
- Outline when you will next communicate (whether that’s with staff or customers) and ensure you keep everyone informed – even if it’s just “no change, we’re still working on it”
- Consider engaging outside help – this can help ensure nothing gets missed, and all opportunities are fully realized. Consider a marketing strategiest, a PR expert or a social media community expert
- Focus on the positive, where possible, while acknowledging the failure or criticism
Many brands have faced a crisis of some description. It’s the response that determines the outcome.
If you need assistance in developing a crisis management plan or in managing a brand crisis, please contact us.
Founder & Growth Catalyst