How to manage a brand reputation crisis
By John Heffernan, digital marketing specialist, EVC Marketing
In today’s instant social media world, sadly, most brands will experience some form of crisis affecting the company brand, reputation, product or even personnel.
The one common trait is that the vast majority of businesses are wholly unprepared for such eventuality – despite the likely disruption to the business operation, reputation and finances.
To manage any crisis involves retrospective action – after the horse has bolted and so on. However, businesses today need to do more than just look back and learn the lessons.
Businesses need a robust reputation marketing strategy, producing positive sentiment and building the brand’s reputation before a crisis occurs. Then having systems in place to act when it does so.
A reputation marketing strategy is designed to manage the crisis and minimize the impact on brand and reputation. Being unprepared can lead to knee-jerk response, poor action and weak decision making from key stakeholders causing further and enhanced damage within an already difficult situation.
Without a strategy in place, the time to respond can also be delayed and this only adds to a potential ill-managed and inadequate rush to judgement.
Common reputation management statistics suggest that one negative article on the first page of search results can cause an estimated 25 per cent loss of business. That statistic alone should send shivers down the spine of any CEO.
What is a crisis?
Crisis is a wide-ranging term and can be relatively minor to catastrophic and include:
- Loss of data/security breach
- Non-compliance to legal requirements
- Product fault or recall
- Social media, ex-employee or other vindictive comments (most often false)
- Management resignations
- Poor salesmanship/customer service
We should all be clear that where a crisis event is preventable, the damage that results must have a documented and clear response strategy.
Bad reviews can escalate out of control as a direct result of the crisis action taken and the minor can very soon become very major. And let’s face it, bad news still travels faster.
A professional and coordinated response has to be in place for such eventualities.
How to manage crisis prevention:
- You must identify and train key stakeholders;
- Assess and evaluate any areas of vulnerability – and encourage staff interaction and feedback;
- Create a response/action process and a plan – tailored for potential crisis issues with a clear delegation of responsibilities and response budget allocation; and
- Implement a reputation marketing process – be proactive not reactive!
If you need to nominate a face-to-the-public, ensure they are not only comfortable with PR, camera interviews, written statements and, of course, the full details of the crisis.
A key element of reputation marketing – proactive prevention – must include a look, listen and monitor process:
- Online review sites/social media channels
- Your own website comments/user-generated content
- Google searches/Google Alerts
Your team must be focused on resolving the problem, communicating with the source of the problem and advising and training relevant internal staff involved with the problem.
Communicating your resolution actions (both internally and externally) is one-step towards re-building trust or limiting the damage caused.
Finally, with the potential of negative posts, comments, articles or Google Search listings, solving the problem has to be complemented by a range of positive actions to improve your brand digital standing.
Reputation marketing and reputation management working hand-in hand.
For more information and an audit of your brand risk contact EVC Marketing today on + 44 (0) 208 123 9273 or +1 239 444 8176.
You can also contact us on Facebook Messenger at m.me/evcmarketing and follow us on Facebook .
About EVC Marketing
John Heffernan and Emily Collins of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.
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