Risk management is a major concern for any growing or established business. Sometimes risks pay off; other times, risk can damage your company’s reputation for years. Whether your failed risk was an advertising blunder or a faulty investment, all you can do is repair your company’s reputation once the damage is done.
Fixing your company’s reputation can improve it in the eyes of shareholders, consumers, and the general public. In the wake of public relations troubles, the right technology can help you leverage your existing customer trust and relationship with other brands and repair your reputation.
Be Prepared to Identify the Problem
In the age of social media, word gets around fast. People are talking about your brand, and knowing what they’re saying is important. If an influencer feels offended by your latest campaign ad, you should be among the first to know.
Make sure your preferred social media tools help you identify the discussion surrounding your brand. The tool Mention is particularly useful for this, alerting you to — you guessed it — mentions of your brand. Using this tool, you can capitalize on positive messages, providing engagement immediately, and you can initiate some damage control if you’ve made a mistake.
Address the Issue Internally
Take a look at the resources you have. Prepare a plan to deal with crises and outline the plan for each stakeholder within your organization. Contact them immediately and have a quick meeting of the minds to talk about the issue.
Once you decide upon an official stance on the issue and a strategy, execute your messaging internally. Company employees should know:
- The nature of the issue.
- How you’re handling it.
- What they’re supposed to say (if anything) to the public.
- How it will change the order of operations and how long that change will last.
Establishing facts and reinforcing a sense of leadership with a positive outlook will head off most of the panic within your organization, keeping things productive so you can push through the crisis. Make sure to keep you external communications team in the loop as well.
For this stage of the plan, utilize company-wide emails and messaging services to reach everyone quickly. Offer additional support to your marketing and social media staff; they will likely be very stressed out over the prospect of managing social media as this issue is addressed.
Prepare a Response to the Incident
Remember, everything moves at a lightning pace in the world of online media. Think about how every consumer will react to this incident and consider them in your response. Make sure you run it by staff for a sensitivity review so you don’t make a bad situation worse. Prepare your response and engage as quickly as possible to avoid further damage and disaster in the online world.
As you acknowledge the issue publicly, there are a few shifts you should immediately consider making. First is a broader investment in digital marketing and reputation defense. Facebook ads and other forms of pay-per-click advertising can ensure your message gets out to a targeted audience. This is especially critical if you’re providing some sort of coupon or offer to fix a mistake.
In this type of situation, it’s essential to ensure your marketing has substance in addition to style. Branding is important, but the meat of the information is key here. What you’re doing to correct the error should be the centerpiece of your marketing message.
In addition to the aforementioned brand monitoring software, consider using other software to get your message out, including:
- Social media account monitoring from a platform like Sprout Social or Hootsuite.
- Answer the Public and SEMrush to generate inbound content that addresses problems or fears related to the incident in question.
- Cision as a means of managing public relations; this software lets you reach journalists and other media professionals.
Your communications should reflect your willingness to follow through on whatever promise for improvement you’ve made. Provide a way for your brand’s customers to track you and hold you accountable for the changes you’ve promised to make. You can offer realistic metrics for this (which will help you set expectations) as well as a timeline for improvement.
As you move through the process of repairing your company’s reputation using technology, consider the impact the incident in question has had on your brand. It’s possible that it’s made employees, the heart of your company, feel uneasy. It may be tougher to recruit top talent thanks to the hit your brand has taken.
In the wake of any reputation-damaging disaster, it’s vital to consider these situations, especially as they impact your company internally. Once the immediate damage control has been done, your focus should be on strengthening your brand internally and externally.
While you’re in a vulnerable position, it’s not a bad idea to assess your website’s security and double down on all internal protocols. Revise policies as needed based upon any mistakes you’ve made, and be sure to communicate those effectively to your internal staff.