When the integrity of your brand is attacked, executing a full-scale crisis management effort can rescue your organization, but it must be timely and properly executed. In the digital age, bad feedback and scandal can haunt you for years to come. It's important to have a plan in place to avoid damage to your reputation at all times. Here are some vital principles to follow.
Build a Crisis Management Team
Having an effective team in place can help prevent mistakes from turning into disasters. If your company can't afford a full-time PR service, put together a committee of cross-functional managers with good communications and a variety of skillsets. Encourage them, and your whole company of culture, to identify and pass along potential issues. Your crisis management team can then take steps to identify the potential risks and come up with counter-measures.
Never assume that establishing a good reputation means you'll weather problems. Brand damage is still costing you money and prestige. For instance, bad press about NFL executives and teams is lowering the image of one of America's most-watched pastimes. Young millennials are becoming the most sought-after demographic in terms of total spending power, yet 61 percent of millennials view the NFL as a corrupt organization. Bad feedback that isn't addressed is more likely to grow than to go away.
Social media analytics help you to understand you're market and how they really feel about your products and services. It's important to monitor what's being said about your organization online across the major social platforms and their millions of users. You could also conduct surveys and invite feedback on your own social profiles or company websites. Respond to comments that cast your company in a bad light. Also, turn to your loyal brand advocates to help minimize the damage. If there are 100 good reviews for every bad one, the negativity will be less significant.
A policy of denial isn't much better than ignoring the problem, and it will be much worse for your reputation if it turns out you are at fault. No matter what's happened, the least you can do is apologize for the inconvenience and promise to investigate the matter. This shows you care about your audience and doing the right thing. If the problem could lead to legal trouble, locate an experienced attorney for your industry, such as counsel with a health care law degree to best protect your practice against unreasonable claims.
Resolving customer issues is something your service department should be well-trained to do. Bad press requires tackling the problem quickly and responsibly to put it behind you.