Reputation Management Expert On 3 Takeaways from Jan. 6 Aftermath & How to Avoid a Corporate Crisis:
Kevin Kaminyar shares expert knowledge on how to avoid a corporate crisis…
Know Your Brand
In such a fast-paced and fast-moving world, any brand management plan must take into account all of the moving parts, with even the best-crafted plan likely to encounter setbacks to be overcome. While preparing to manage your brand, as an individual or a business, this reality must be taken into account. Furthermore, understand that all possible outcomes can never be foreseen, so adaptability to events as they happen, and understanding how they impact your brand, is a must. Brand reputation is simply a measure of how much customers or clients trust you, trust that you actually stand for what you say you do. A strong positive brand identity truly fits the old adage of being hard to gain and easy to lose
Challenges Can Be As Massive As A Riot…
Earlier this year, as the nation sat stunned watching the January 6 Capitol attack, the consequences were sure to be massive. As ongoing committee hearings reveal more of the horrors of that day, that shock still resonates. Amidst the fallout, the impact spread beyond those present as the nation wondered how and why that could happen. Long before the election the seeds had been planted, however, and continued down that same dangerous path in the weeks leading up to January 6. While many participated in the lies fed to those storming the Capitol on January 6th, 147 members of Congress voted against the certification of the election results later on that same day. Amidst the backlash, strong pressure across the nation led dozens of companies to announce pauses or hold on political donations on officials who had supported the lies which fueled the riot. They had spent months making denial of the election results part of their brand, and if companies continued donating they risked doing the same.
…Or As Small As A Tweet
While events of that magnitude, facing near-universal criticism, are rare, even significantly more minor acts can be devastating to brand identity. Events such as the Jan 6 Capitol Attack clearly fit the mold of what brand management expects, albeit, on a stunning scale, smaller acts can be just as significant. If you recall years ago when a woman with less than 200 followers sent out a now infamous tweet before boarding a plane to South Africa, by the time she had landed she was trending worldwide. Sixty-four characters, sent in less than sixty seconds, caused worldwide outrage.
In the age of social media, especially, brand management is critical. An errant tweet or post can have a major impact on your brand and its perception. And in brand management, perception is everything. Rather than hope you or your company never donate to the wrong person, never send something into cyberspace without fully thinking about the impact it might have, and prepare for the inevitability that something will happen. To err is human, and with the right plan in place, you can ensure people remember that and view whatever incident befalls your brand as an error, not an identifier.
One: Act Fast
When protecting your reputation, the sooner the better. While the saying goes better late than never, earlier is always the best. The more quickly you respond the more quickly you begin to earn back trust. Getting ahead of the problem, and implementing an optimal response before a small slip-up becomes the next trending hashtag or breaking news headline, helps consumers realize you acted not in response to pressure, but because you knew it was the right thing to do.
On the other hand, it is never too late. Just because you didn’t do it earlier doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it now, because if you let small problems linger without addressing them they will snowball, and by the time you are addressing that larger problem you will have lost a lot of the trust necessary to build back your brand.
Two: Trust That Your Customers Care
Just as with the tweet I mentioned above, never have so many people had access to what you say and do, and social media has caused the public space to become almost all-encompassing. And while everyone loves the latest cute viral sensation, sharing a cat video alone will not be enough to overcome negative content.
Roughly 31 percent of companies report unfavorable content has had a damaging effect on their reputation, and if consumers decide they disagree with what you’re doing, they’ll say something and demand change. Listen to them. In the same vein as acting fast, any attempts to obscure or mislead can do more harm than good. This will lead to more negative headlines, a bigger breach of your consumers’ trust, and only make it harder to salvage your brand.
Three: Always Be Learning
Everything is a learning lesson and knowing how best to respond comes with experience. These opportunities are times to show your consumers how much you care. To truly repair the damage you need to show them that you do, and never be afraid to ask for help. Seeking out expert support for the best steps forward should always be in the back of your head because the wide variety of issues that can arise could call for an even wider array of possible solutions. Seeking out the right help to make sure you are taking the right steps will show your customers that you are serious, and lead to a stronger brand in the long run.
By following these three simple steps, and keeping in mind that a big part of repairing reputational damage is the work you do before disaster strikes, you can have a reputation management process that keeps your brand strong.
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