Crisis management is important for any brand.
As we may know, one’s response in the midst of the storm can make or break a brand, a career, or a company’s reputation and drastically affect future profitability.
First, pause and assess how the situation affects you personally. Clear your mind and focus. “What most people do is react without pausing.” “It’s important to assess what just happened personally. You can get consumed with what the public thinks, but you can’t focus on that just yet.”
Assess a response or whether you should respond at all. “I usually have to get a client to calm down first and evaluate this. You might feel you need to respond to everything, but that’s not necessarily best.”
If you do decide to respond, know your goal in responding. What do you want the response to accomplish? “If anything that you want to say doesn’t fit into that goal, then don’t say it,” she says. “Usually, your goal should be keeping consumer/client loyalty and confidence.”
Keep in mind that you don’t want to highlight the negatives. Show your customer that you care and stick to the positives.
Know what areas you need to respond to, and what areas are irrelevant. “You don’t want to get into a [situation] to try to prove things to the media,” she says. “You can make a mistake in trying to prove your case. You may say too much, which can allow room for scrutiny.”
You can acknowledge the incident, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept responsibility publicly. Show the appropriate concern, but indicate that you need time to handle the incident and would appreciate the respect of your privacy, depending on the case.
Keep in mind what stage of the process you’re in. “How you respond when it first starts is very different from how you would in the middle or after,” Evans says. “Three different goals, three different responses.”
Never underestimate the importance of humility. “People like to see humility to regain trust in your brand,” Evans says. “People love second chances, but they only give that after humility. For a small business owner, this could be as simple as having humility about a service or product you provided that might not have been satisfactory to customers. “If a customer or client is unhappy, you want to rebuild trust,” “That starts with accepting responsibility and offering positive alternatives.”
If there is a major negative impact on a customer/client base, you may need to re-brand yourself. That might include a new campaign to get customers to trust you. “Branding is about perceptions, and when it changes, you may have to reassess your strategy — whether it’s your marketing, staff, location, etc.”
If there are legal consequences involved, a lawyer should be consulted sooner than later.
Don’t underestimate the importance of having a lawyer in a worst-case scenario. And your publicist should work in conjunction with the legal representation to deliver the appropriate message.
I hope with these few points; if you ever find yourself in this situation, you will employ these strategies to redeem your image.