An offensive Twitter post. A joke that falls flat at a board meeting. We’ve all witnessed a brand crisis – when your good reputation comes under fire, usually by a slip of the tongue.
A brand crisis happens to everyone at one point in his or her career, and how you manage it makes the difference between a minor mistake and major catastrophe. Once you’ve made an error – big or small – take the following steps to safeguard your brand:
1. Own it. This is one of the hardest steps to take, but is one of the most important. Action can only happen once you’ve acknowledged and accepted your mistake.
2. Evaluate. There are a myriad of reasons as to why you’ve behaved in a way that has damaged your brand. Define your triggers and work out a new way to operate – it could be as simple as not drinking at work functions or Tweeting on the fly.
3. Rally your troops. Your alliances should be able to support you through this crisis and give you the advice to plan your brand recovery.
4. Put the gloves down. It’s very tempting when you’re backed into a corner to come out swinging by getting defensive and emotional, but taking on your critics can only further damage your brand. Commit to stating only the facts and not your feelings around them.
5. Review your network. For people with expansive networks over multiple channels, it’s sometimes hard to see your detractors who are lurking in the background watching your every move. Block people who exploit your mistakes for their own personal gain.
6. Assess every relationship you have. Are the people that you trust hurting or helping your brand? It may be time to cull and be ruthless where you know you need to be.
7. Step out of the limelight. After an incident that damages your brand, there’s no harm in taking a moment to reflect away from all of the noise. Remember – it’s better to say and do nothing than make further mistakes by going into auto recovery mode.
8. Resurface when you’re reassured. Reassured, that is, that you’ve got a new approach and you have the resources to continue building your brand (and strategies to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again).