Managing a company is really hard: we are not talking just about economic issues, but all the work and effort needed to maintain a profitable structure day-to-day. That is why we have to build our brand based on strong pillars to avoid potential events to damage it.
This is the case when a brand crisis occurs: when a mishap we can’t (or we can) control affects our reputation and the way our customers appreciate our efforts.
No one is 100% safe from incidents or unsatisfied customers causing brand crisis, but we can (and should) prepare action plans in order to solve this crisis situation or at least manage it until we can control it. How can we effectively manage a brand crisis?
4 steps to quickly solve and manage a brand crisis
#1: document every possible situation in a guide
The main factor of a crisis is its unpredictability, so we don’t know how to act to solve it. This way, we should focus our efforts in reducing this unpredictable factor to act in a resolute and secure way when we face a brand crisis.
To achieve this goal, we have to design detailed action plans, documents containing the most accurate steps to follow every time an undesired event occurs.
“Brand crisis are fires that need to be extinguished as quick as possible to avoid them to spread and cause greater damage to our reputation”
It is really similar to fire action protocols: no one desires, and no one is 100% prepared against an uncontrolled fire, but it is mandatory to signal emergency exits. We also do drills to minimize damages and act firmly and quickly in case of fire.
In a company, those “fires” are harmful comments in Social Media about our products, defective shipments, geopolitical events affecting our production chain, and so on. The better our “emergency exit” is signalled, the quicker we will be able to solve this situation.
#2: don’t leave anything to improvisation
Rapidity is essential to avoid our crisis to spread, but calm and previous investigation are fundamental while managing a brand crisis. Most of the mistakes during a risky situation for our company are made because we want to finish the crisis immediately, with uncontrolled and fast actions that could spread the crisis even more.
It occurs when we have a negative comment and we delete it or we blame other people or even the customer. When we have a case that dangers our reputation, we should act according to the following phases:
- Identify the problem: what is exactly happening, which action protocol should we follow.
- Identify the damage: where can we see the consequences of the problem, where should we act.
- Identify causes: why are we in this situation, how could we avoid it in the future.
Once we have all this information, we can make use of action protocols described in the first step. In case we have not predicted this kind of crisis, we should determine the next steps to be followed, but always knowing the consequences and how to revert them.
Those who work day-to-day to sustain brand reputation and to offer the best experience to customers are usually faithful and passionate defenders of their products. This is not a negative factor, but it could be problem if it affects t our objectivity while defending our work.
That is why we should leave reputation crisis management in third-parties hands. Doing it doesn’t mean to make our problem public or delegating work that should be intern at all. In fact, involving third-parties that are not directly affected by the crisis provides the needed level of objectivity and temperance to apply the required action protocols.
Additionally, your own team should also be involved in the process. This way, they can manage the needed information required by the action plan and we avoid a greater crisis caused by independent and uncontrolled actions.
#4: continuous communication
When we have a problem with our brand, we want solutions. Despite the recent growth of “haters” (people who write negative comments with the aim of damaging a brand’s image with no reason at all) on the Internet, most of negative comments are written trying to achieve a goal: it can be an encouraging goal (it will not happen again), or a reactive goal (my problem will be solved or other users will not suffer it thanks to this comment).
This way, not answering negative comments or waiting the crisis to be forgotten are not the proper way to deal with the problem. If you don’t have either the needed information or resources to solve the crisis in the moment it occurs, keep calm. Sending messages indicating you are working on it and you are searching for solutions is a good practice. Here we provide a good example of it: “we are investigating the reason of this reaction. As soon as we get the required information we will contact you to provide a satisfactory answer. Meanwhile, we apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for your attention”.
“If you don’t communicate your message, others will do it on your behalf. Try to control in every moment the information that your customers receive”
These encouraging and kind messages let us gain some extra time and are seen by public who is unaware of the crisis as a sign of how the company cares about their customers. This is really positive when we deal with situations and we don’t hide them.
Ability to react in a positive way, calm and organization are the three main pillars of every action protocol against brand crisis. If you miss on of this three keys or you don’t know how to firmly deal with some of the explained steps, don’t worry: leave it in crisis management experts’ hands. Reputation Crisis helps you to develop effective action protocols you can apply immediately in case of crisis. Furthermore, these plans are elaborated by online marketing experts and they are implemented through tools supported by legal professionals.