What happens when a successful brand is suddenly associated with a flawed product or a fraudulent employee? Usually the company’s reputation takes a hit and right beside it sharing the sucker punch is the bottom-line. Is there any hope after reputation damage? Should investors just cut and run? Not necessarily. A good PR team may be all you need to regain the trust of consumers and get back on track to business success.
Get Ahead of the Situation
Start by taking responsibility for the lapse that caused the reputation damage. Acknowledging the error and publicizing an apologetic stance can go a long way in restoring your brand’s image. The general public tends to respond more favourably to entities that take responsibility for errors than those that take a hard lined stance. Timeliness is also crucial. The longer the company stays silent on the matter, the greater the damage to its reputation. Today’s consumer values a proactive approach to corporate blunders as well as transparency and accountability. All three factors need to be evident in the post dilemma communication delivered on behalf of the company to the public.
This does not mean however, that you should accept responsibilities for issues that were not genuinely the responsibility of the company. You’ll also have to weight very carefully the financial liability that the business could incur by acknowledging fault. Sometimes a great tactic is to find some middle ground.
Deal With Legal Issues
Of course legal issues usually follow reputation damage. Your PR team will be crucial in helping the public understand and appreciate the company’s legal stance on the matter. Legal experts, will of course advise whether a settlement is in the best interest of the company or if a legal battle is feasible. Either way prompt action certainly beats dead silence or inaction. It is then up to the PR team to present this stance to the public in a strategic manner. The stance taken by the company is important, but the way it is presented to the public is even more crucial to charting a positive way forward.
Flip the Coin
Shifting focus from the unfortunate occurrence to positive happenings will help to restore the brand’s image in the eyes of the world. Social media and other virtual platforms are very useful where this is concerned. After a reputation plunge, a good PR team will work to shift the focus to all the positives surrounding the brand. Part of this plan will no doubt, include the generation of a collection of positively skewed content. This may include anything from SEO articles to videos showing the company being a good corporate citizen by engaging in community development or donating to charities. A savvy PR professional will know exactly how to post these strategically on the corporate website, social media pages and in blogs in order to generate positive discussions centered on the brand. Connections with news media outlets can also be leveraged in order to broaden the ‘good publicity’ scope.
As many companies have discovered before, reputation management is the perfect response to any image crisis that could affect a company. If done effectively, the company could soon be back on the path to commercial success.