It was Warren Buffet that said, “it takes 20 years to build an identity and only 5 minutes to destroy it.” He certainly knew what he was talking about. In today’s technologically charged world, anything from a simple Tweet at the wrong time to awful adverts or a poorly chosen brand name can take your company from hero to zero in just a couple of minutes.
Whether your brand reputation has been established on exquisite products or services, incredible customer relationships or a quirky personality that your customers love — chances are, you didn’t get where you are overnight. It’s probably taken years and a whole lot of work to build your brand and find loyal customers.
These days, consumers aren’t simply buying a product or service, but they are invested in the ethos and values of a brand and if this is compromised, then it’s difficult to right a sinking brand ship. We said difficult though, not impossible.
Here are just some of the ways to help restore your brand image after a crisis:
You have to identify the issue, acknowledge the problem and own it. If there is a fault in one of your products that have gone out to customers, then you have to get onto the trail and ensure that you recall every single one of the faulty products that have gone out. This shows that you have taken the initiative to admit a problem and do something about it. At this point, no formal apology has been sent out, but you are managing the customers who have been directly affected. A quick tip: Refunds, replacements or gifts could really put you in these customers’ good books.
Once you’ve identified and acknowledged the problem, it’s time to put an apology out. Don’t ever just bury your head in the sand and think it’s going to go away. If you don’t have a PR department, this is the time to outsource. Nothing goes down worse than a poorly worded, insincere apology. Work with those that know what they’re doing and issue an appropriate, honest apology.
Remember that it’s going to take time for this to all go away. Sit down and set realistic goals with yourself and others within the company. Think about how you’re going to engage with your audience. Structure the ways in which you’re going to amend the problem and set an achievable timeframe for it. If you put out a statement saying you are going to do something by a certain time and you don’t manage to keep that timeframe, then you’re going to be back to square one.
It’s essential that once you start working towards restoring your brand’s image, you engage with your customers as honestly and transparently as possible. Let them know how you are trying to change things and that the business is working hard to rectify what went wrong. This is going to be a long road and it’s important that you maintain consistency in your messaging, brand tone, voice and values throughout the entire rebuilding process.
A crisis doesn’t have to be the end of a brand, especially if you’ve got the right people guiding you through the process.