According to our Managing Director, Leisa Goddard, brand image is successfully maintained when a crisis is handled quickly, openly and effectively.
Preparation is one of the keys to success. Having a brand crisis management plan allows for the organisation to have pre-planned actions thought out while in the green, so that everything is ready to be executed or altered when in the red.
Decisions can be made more rationally and with maintaining brand image in mind when creating a crisis management plan before something goes wrong. Leisa says within a crisis management plan, it’s vital to make sure that an honest comment is prepared for the public and a suitable spokesperson is also prepped on addressing the issue.
“This should involve media training for all those who are likely to face the media in a time of crisis,” she said.
“Knowing what to say and how to say it is incredibly important, particularly if you come under fire because of something that has happened at your organisation.”
Proactively planning on how to maintain brand image throughout a crisis ensures a better public perception post-crisis.
“Honesty is the best policy” – the most overused yet underrated saying in brand crisis management. There have been countless crises where brands have failed to own up to their responsibilities and be transparent. This leads to extended periods of scandal and scrutiny. Accepting responsibility and letting the public know what your brand is doing to resolve the crisis allows them to feel included in the resolution. Honesty and transparency throughout a crisis incite a deeper and more emotional consumer-brand relationship, which leads to greater trust in the brand.
In order to successfully maintain your brand’s image during a crisis, having empathy is of utmost importance. Leisa has advised that being sensitive to the issue and its impact on the public allows you to greater connect with the audience and have an increased level of support from them.
Expressing empathy humanises the issue and reinforces trust between brand and audience. The public values being heard and understood throughout a crisis and when empathised with, the public can view the brand in the same way they did before the crisis, or even with a higher regard if it is handled well.