Corporate brands aren’t all that different from people when it comes right down to a crisis. Just think about it… yesterday’s corporate darling with a stellar reputation could turn into the red-headed stepchild in a hot second when disaster strikes or the urgent need for a recall pops up. While we can take some precautions, like quality controls for manufacturers or living by the inspired Word of God in our daily walk as an individual, virtually no one is immune to the possibility of a crisis.
Consider these examples:
- a long legacy of environmental awareness and stewardship is glossed over by a natural disaster, the sheen of an oil spill covers water, birds and sand, and tarnishes our memory…
- your favorite rapper is caught lip syncing at a live show…
- a sticky accelerator pedal on a venerable auto model is causing vehicles to crash and burn…
- worse still, a pastor is caught in a sex scandal (ok, that’s just my own judgmental take on the severity). So scandalous!!
How do I know this about brand crisis? First-hand experience, unfortunately. Nope, not a sex scandal… but still, quite embarrassing.
Here is a critical part of managing your own brand, or agenda (hopefully this won’t put a PR maven or two out of work…), the 3 keys to overcoming a brand crisis:
– Be Proactive. Don’t wait for someone else to tell your story for you. You have to take a leading role. Don’t be reluctant… you will find most reasonable people will accept that you’re human and have made a mistake.
– Be Accountable. Own up to your mistakes. Acknowledge that there’s a problem. Always shoot to be sincere, honest and upfront. This is the most effective way to douse the coals before they become an open flame.
– Stick with your own, positive agenda. Don’t dwell on the past. Learn from it, and keep moving in a positive direction. Moreover, be sure to strive to do something that is powerful enough to overcome any negative association with your brand. If you have pundits, realize that you just discovered another party to influence, or enamor. Overwhelm them with God’s love.
By sticking with this simple game plan you will stand the best chance to emerge from the crisis and be on the road to recovery.
Do brands that go through crisis get a second chance?
Absolutely, remember Tylenol? They faced crisis and survived. You can too, by stepping up to the plate and controlling the narrative of the event. There are many others… Mattel had to recall toys on many occasions… and Taco Bell is accused of putting something other than beef in the burrito’s.
For goodness sake, even Tiger has cleaned up his act and found a new girlfriend, right? btw, I love his story. No, not the bad part… the part about him getting it all together again. Just you wait and see, he’ll be doing Accenture commercials again before you know it!
Crisis… it could happen to anyone, eventually…
Hoping this never happens to you, if it does, just remember we’re not in high school any more, and there’s something to be said for grace, and His inspired word…
“… make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly love. For if you posses these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-11
Stumble… you betcha!
Fall… not likely.
Have you ever been in a situation of crisis? How did you handle it?