Save Your Rep: Crisis Management for Embattled Brands

crisis management marketing

It seems like every other week, a business makes news for all the wrong reasons. A data breach here. A DE&I disaster there.

Some of these businesses overcome the fallout. But others publicly implode, while still others sneak away in the dark of night, never to be heard from again.

What’s the difference between a business that can survive a meltdown and one that can’t?

Crisis management.

Crisis Management in Marketing

In marketing, crisis management means taking steps to proactively shield your brand from controversy. It’s about putting plans in place to prevent and/or manage any number of disasters that could come your way.

For instance, how will you respond if a product needs to be recalled for safety concerns or a disgruntled ex-employee starts spilling company secrets?

You also want to take steps to prevent any potential crises. On the marketing side of things, that might mean a critical and embarrassing typo in a billboard, or having your social media accounts compromised.

A good crisis management plan:

  • Puts processes and procedures in place for what to do before, during and after a crisis
  • Prioritizes customers, employees and company stakeholders
  • Protects your brand’s reputation
  • Paves the way to a faster resolution and a smoother return to business as normal

Creating Your Crisis Management Plan

The first step to creating a successful crisis management plan is to brainstorm all the different crises your brand is most likely to face.

From there, you can begin to list out the effects of each individual crisis and how to best go about resolving them. Who will be involved? Who needs to be notified and in what order? When and how will you communicate with the public?

Since people tend to freeze in a crisis, so the more detailed your plan is, the better. It’s important to act quickly, and step-by-step instructions are the best way to ensure that can happen.

Once you’ve mapped all possible crises and resolutions, communicate your management plan to your team. Everyone needs to know what their individual role is in preventing, managing and recovering from a business crisis.

Remember to regularly revisit and review your crisis management plan, especially if you’ve needed to use it. Figuring out what worked and what didn’t allows you to create a better plan for the future.

Tips for Managing a Crisis

No crisis management plan is perfect, and you might very well find yourself in some hot water at one point or another. If you do, keep these tips in mind.

  • Be the one to break the news. No one likes to admit that they made a mistake, but the likelihood of a crisis blowing over unnoticed is slim to none. Someone is going to break the story, and if that someone is you (or another respected face of the brand), that will look a lot better than if your clients and partners find out from another source.
  • Work with the media. If the crisis is particularly newsworthy, you can bet that a reporter is going to sniff it out. If you have an existing relationship with that reporter, however, the angle might be a bit more favorable. A good relationship with the media can lead to better PR, even in tough times.
  • Share the preventative steps you’re taking. The phrase “We’ll do better next time” probably won’t instill much confidence in your audience. Instead, share the concrete steps you’re taking to prevent another mistake.
  • Offer a sincere apology. Even if your customers weren’t directly harmed by whatever transpired, a business crisis can break down the trust you’ve worked so hard to create. A sincere apology is a must.

No Business Is Crisis-Proof!

A crisis can happen to any business at any time. The way you proactively prepare for it and how you handle the fallout determines whether you’ll rise from the ashes or become the next PR nightmare.

A crisis management plan doesn’t ensure that nothing bad will happen, but it’s incredibly helpful when things go awry.

Are you having a business emergency? Let Mischa Communications be your first responders. Help is just a click away.