5 top tips: managing brand and reputation in a crisis

As 2020 has proven, a crisis can hit at any time and affect any and all businesses.

How your business manages the crisis will have a direct impact on your ongoing success.

As businesses leaders and companies around the world rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, it is critical to be prepared and plan ahead for potential future crises that may occur.

Financial disasters, cyber-attacks, leadership mismanagement and other crises can spell disaster for a business and reputation in a matter of hours.

READ OUR PERSPECTIVES: Managing your brand and reputation during the COVID-19 crisis

A well-managed crisis confirms that your business has the forethought, strategic thinking, systems and processes to survive most issues that come its way. A crisis that is not managed appropriately can affect profits and destroy a well-earned reputation and damage your brand.

Managing a crisis is not something that should be done on the fly. Making rash decisions or being interviewed in the heat of the moment could turn the tide of public opinion against you. Every action your organisation takes during a crisis needs to be well-considered and well-orchestrated.

Crisis management plans should be developed well in advance, when operations are stable and team members can focus clearly.  A crisis will impact all facets of your business so it is critical that you gather insights and feedback from the heads of each department.  The plan should consider a variety of scenarios so your team is prepared for any eventuality.

Our 5 top tips for managing your brand and reputation during a crisis:

  • Establish a plan – The importance of establishing, reviewing and practising a crisis management plan cannot be overstated. Your plan should clearly outline what team members will be managing the crisis, the actions that will be taken, and who will be responsible.
  • Organise a spokesperson – During a crisis, there should be a designated spokesperson to speak on behalf of your organisation. The spokesperson should ideally be someone who is in a position of authority and they should be comfortable speaking to the media. It is recommended that the company spokesperson receive regular media training and be familiar with the organisation’s crisis management plan.
  • Apologise and take action – Always provide a sincere apology to the people affected by the crisis and take responsibility. Do not try to blame others or make excuses – this will not be acceptable to the public. Organisations should demonstrate that they are taking immediate action to rectify or alleviate the problem and outline what steps they will take to do so.
  • Transparency – It’s important that organisations are transparent and honest during a crisis. Trust from their customers and the general public will be at an all-time low and organisations will need to build that respect and trust back again. Omitting important details will look like your organisation has something to hide and will most likely damage your reputation.
  • Keep stakeholders informed – All stakeholders – from employees to customers to business suppliers – should receive regular updates on the crisis, even if there isn’t much to report. Your relationships with your audiences could be undermined by the crisis you will need to demonstrate that you have their best intentions at heart.

When a crisis hits, your organisation will be under the spotlight. Every move you make will be closely monitored. Being prepared, establishing a crisis management plan and practising ahead of the storm, will give your business the best chance of survival.