The growth of digital communications has allowed businesses unparalleled opportunities to reach new audiences through marketing and social platforms – building followers, tracking customers, and connecting in meaningful and lasting ways. Modern branding and marketing rely heavily on online and mobile mediums these days.
The flipside of this dynamic is that brands are much more visible, and as a result, crises can spread like wildfire, virtually decimating a business’s reputation overnight. Whether your company is caught up in a harassment scandal, you’ve suffered a data breach, or you have to stage a product recall, just for example, the news of your crisis can quickly balloon beyond your control when it’s being shared at lighting speed online.
Just look at what happened to the Weinstein Company. When the New York Times released allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein in early October of 2017, the company reacted swiftly, firing Weinstein just three days later, but the damage had already been done. The company could not recover from the allegations, spanning years of misconduct and dozens of complaints, and they were forced to file for bankruptcy by March of 2018.
This is not to say that your company will ever face a scandal of this magnitude, but even smaller crises could irreparably damage your reputation if you fail to address them swiftly and in a manner that appeases your audience. You don’t want to be tried in the court of public opinion and found wanting.
What can you and your branding services agency do to combat bad press, regain control of the situation, and save your reputation and your business? Here are a few tips to prevent a PR crisis from escalating to the point that your business can’t recover.
Plan for Branding Disaster – and Recovery
Even if you work hard to offer exceptional products or services and provide outstanding customer service, a crisis could strike at any time. What if your network is hacked, your defenses are breached, and confidential customer data is stolen, despite having stellar security measures in place?
No matter how hard you work to prevent a crisis, sometimes it’s out of your hands, and you need to have a plan in place to address concerns and control the narrative. Your trusted Asheville branding and marketing firm can do more than help you build your brand and craft successful messaging for marketing purposes – these experienced professionals can work with you to create a plan for disaster recovery should you find yourself facing a worst-case scenario.
Work with Your Asheville Internet Marketing Firm on Prepared Messaging
Avoiding a crisis is always preferable, but it’s not always possible. You don’t want precious time to slip away while you’re working to craft a suitable response to a crisis situation – outsiders will rush in to fill the gap with their own messaging, over which you have no control. This means you need to come up with a strategy for making a statement as soon as possible following a crisis.
To some degree, you and your Asheville branding and marketing partner can create strategies for known crises (such as a data breach, a product recall, or accusations of wrongdoing of some sort). However, you can also prepare generic messaging so you have something in the can, so to speak, and then make adjustments as needed to suit the situation at hand.
Don’t Ignore Commentary when Crafting Your Marketing Response
The last thing you want to do is appear tone deaf when it comes to your response to a crisis. Although you want to release your own messaging as soon as possible to spin the narrative in your favor, you don’t want to wind up on the wrong side of public opinion.
This means responding in a thoughtful and measured manner and taking existing social commentary or known social opinion into account. By no means should you ever retaliate against consumers voicing opinions, even if they’re wrong or you disagree, as this will send a clear message that you don’t care about your customers.
Set Expectations from the Outset
One great way to set the stage for crisis response is to work with your branding services agency to set expectations as much as possible from the outset. If, for example, you have limited resources to provide for customer service in the event of a crisis situation, simply create disclaimers for online platforms to let people know that there will be delays and that you will respond to customer inquiries as quickly as possible.
Partner with a Branding Services Agency for Crisis Management
Most companies are not equipped to combat a crisis on their own, even with in-house PR professionals in place. This is where the expertise and resources of your trusted Asheville internet marketing partner can make a world of difference.
Whether you simply need help creating and maintaining branding and marketing strategies or you want to prepare for a potential PR crisis, contact the experienced professionals at Storypowered today at 828-450-2551 or online to get your plans underway.