How To Protect Your Reputation During A Crisis
Lately, several high profile manufacturers have seen themselves in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Takes a look at how you can protect your brand and your company in a catastrophe:
First had been Ryanair which announced that it was canceling around 50 flights a day to the next month due to ‘messing up’ (in their own words) its allocation of vacation time for pilots, affecting over half a million clients.
Facebook similarly faced a self-inflicted crisis when it was revealed offensive content could be targeted through its advertising system to sympathetic groups and, to make things worse, the social network had no idea it was happening.
The cab app Uber has fought criticism over driver background checks after TFL announced it wouldn’t be renewing their license due to the business not being ‘fit and proper.’
For any business in a similar scenario, if poorly handled, not only can it cause significant damage to your business in the brief term, however, the more prolonged term effect upon your reputation can be hard to recover from.
Thus, what should you do if you find yourself confronting a public or media backlash?
1. Anticipate a catastrophe and have a strategy set up
Preparation is vital when reacting to a crisis and it is essential you have plans that are all set to go. Consider the likely scenarios that could affect your reputation and develop a crisis response strategy for each. These should include draft statements, a list of key media contacts and stakeholders. Make it a point to assess and update your plans regularly.
2. Recognise there is a difficulty
Among the most significant mistakes, businesses make when confronting a catastrophe is burying their heads in the sand and keeping quiet, hoping the issue will go away. People today would like to know that you know their concerns and are attempting to address them — as speedily as possible.
3. Respond quickly, but accurately
The first 24 hours are critical, and in today’s 24/7 world of social websites, it does not take long for tales to gain momentum — even the very first couple of hours could be crucial. A fast answer is essential but be sure you realize the situation first before rushing out a statement which you later should backtrack on. When it comes to announcements, follow the CAR approach: show Concern, clarify what Action you’re taking and say the Remedy you will be putting in place to make sure it does not happen again.
4. Be proactive
After your first statement does not go quietly. Provide regular updates and an estimated timescale for further responses. Monitor the situation carefully for new improvements and, if appropriate, make a dedicated site support page. In case a crisis stems from an error you have made, an apology should be well received.
5. Monitor social websites
Stories often violate on social media, particularly Twitter, long before they hit the papers. Ensure you provide regular updates on Twitter and answer any queries which come through. You should also monitor keywords having to do with the emergency to understand the talks going on and intervene if needed.