How To Handle, Fix and Survive A Brand Scandal
A business, if not careful, can face the scariest PR nightmare that may lead to the destruction of its brand. Companies usually hire PR people to handle these situations, especially if the media becomes involved.
PR problems become more common nowadays due to the increasing popularity of social media wherein a person within a company can post a tweet or status that could damage the reputation of the entire brand. Moreover, according to Gus Sellito of Byfield Consultancy, millennials generally have less trust for companies. Thus, there’s a need for brands to establish and maintain social responsibility, transparency, and integrity.
A branding agency San Francisco, shares the things that companies should take into consideration whenever they are facing a brand disaster:
- Acknowledge the issue and investigate.
Whenever there is a sudden issue or scandal, the initial reaction of a person is to panic and start the blame game. However, this is not the best way to approach any problem.
Just recently, United Airlines was at the receiving end of a huge social media backlash due to an incident involving its passenger. A message from one of the airline executives was soon posted online. This is a good move. It’s better to directly acknowledge the issue at hand in order to give the impression that the brand is aware of their customer’s concerns. When releasing a public statement, assure everyone that the issue is already being investigated.
- Send a public and a personal apology.
Most social media-born issues are commonly dealt via social media. However, the endless tirades of tweets and comments are not good for the image for the brand. When dealing with social media brand disaster, acknowledge the issue first. Then, personally message the complainant to assure them that the brand is already aware of the issue.
- Keep a firm ground on your defense.
Just because the company is facing a brand disaster doesn’t mean that the brand is already at fault. The common belief that the “customer is always right” can easily be abused. And for years, several brands have been wrongfully accused, thus resulting to expensive lawsuits and PR damages. Investigate the issue, and if your brand is innocent, keep a firm ground on defending it.
- Settle the issue as fast as you can.
Keeping the issue floating and circulating in the news and social media will not help the brand’s image. Some will just keep silent and let the issue die away, but it’s not the best move you can take. The sooner the issue is settled, the better it is for your brand.
- Rebuild your brand.
Companies often rebrand or reorganize their system after dealing with a brand disaster. This is taken as a form of damage control. Changes can range from changing the brand name to completely reinventing the brand and changing the policies or the management. Rebranding aims to show customers that the company is making sure that the issue will not happen again.
A brand disaster is something every brand wants to avoid as much as possible. After all, it will have a negative impact on the company’s revenue and reputation. Having a good brand disaster response will be very beneficial.