It could happen to anyone. You might wake up one day and find your brand under attack on social media due to an unfortunate event causing reputational damage that can cost you millions in PR efforts to repair.
Reputation management should start before crisis occur to cushion your brand against expected and unexpected hits.
Take a Stand
What are the threats that can harm your reputation as a brand or even as a player in an industry under attack? Whether it is an environmental issue or a humanitarian one, take a stand early on. Adopt an ethical approach to your business and make sure that the world know about it before the crisis happen.
Transparency is your shield against any speculations and attacks. It helps you establish a good reputation that can’t be damaged easily. But transparency should not be limited to your brand but extended to your suppliers. Make your values clear and deal with suppliers that respect your values.
When you are facing an issue that can escalate, be quick to respond. Clarify the situation and comfort your customers. You’d rather tell your side of the story and control the narrative than have an angry customer tell their side of the story and face the reputational damage. Mention the details objectively and don’t be scared to admit to your mistakes.
When you commit a mistake you should be quick to apologize. Don’t try to make excuses or hide behind vague comments. The faster you are to admit your guilt the less damage you will cause to your brand. A sincere apology can take you a long way into gaining your customer’s trust back.
Admit the problem, and set a time to resolve it then stick to your deadline. It is better to face the issue than to hide from it, it will show that you care about your customer’s problems and you listen to their complaint.