“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” ~Warren Buffett

Speaking to the press comes with its own vile of poison: they take you up on your words and like vultures, they swoop down and prey upon anything that comes out of your lips and report it. Same goes for PR.

In the current digital landscape, companies resort to hiring PR managers to manage the reputation of their brands. But sometimes, even these PR managers make mistakes which can be lethal for the brand image. For instance, some Brand managers are too eager to jump into conversations, without weighing their words meticulously. When Prince Rogers Nelson, a famous musician passed away in the April of 2008, Cheerios pushed out a tweet just to have something to add to the raging conversations surrounding the demise, which ultimately turned around on them and set the fans on fire.

brand death how to reviveA simple “Rest in Peace” would have been construed as an honorary good-bye, had the brand not used the brand stamp in place of the dotted “i”. As soon as the tweet flew out, Prince’s fans went choleric. They started cursing the brand, and rightly so, for leveraging the legend’s death for their own marketing gimmicks.

Sony Corp. found themselves in hot waters upon the death of Whitney Houston. Just when grief was still fresh and wounds were tender, Sony Corp. thought of playing upon the sentiments of her fans, making some extra cash out of the situation by spiking the price of digital downloads of her music. Fans were peeved by this avaricious deed and started bad-mouthing the brand. As soon as Sony Corp. realized their mistake, they apologized and toned down the prices.

Creating brand awareness is a serious business & if brands start messing-up their PR, things quickly take a downward spiral. We, being a digital agency understand the importance of fashioning a strong brand presence and sustaining it. Additionally, we are here to help you bounce back from a PR holocaust. Here are four ways to bring your agency back from the dead after an embarrassing slip-up.

Related: Ways of Moving Toward Building a Successful Brand

Get your plans in order

“Ninety-five percent of all crises I’ve witnessed in my 30-plus year career could have been completely avertable with careful planning,” says Jonathan Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management.

Each PR crisis may come as a surprise, but make sure that your response doesn’t. All successful organizations have a viable crisis management plan in place, lest things go south. If your organization hasn’t assigned a group yet, it’s high time to do so. Here are the three characteristics of Management Study Guide:

  • The Crisis Management Plan should be formulated in the presence of all executives. Every member of the crisis management team should have a say in the plan. It is important for each participant to give their valuable two-cents and suggestions.
  • The Crisis Management Plan should take into consideration all identified problem areas and suggest a possible solution for all of them to help the organization recover from the crisis as soon as possible.
  • Make sure that your plans are realistic and solve the purpose of saving the organization’s reputation and name.

Furthermore, the plan should also include the training of all higher executives. The responses need to be approved by the public relations managers and social media executives.

Related: How To Build a Successful Brand Out of Spider Ridden Apartment

Sorting the problem and prioritizing the solution

As soon as Sony Corp. realized the blunder they had made, the first thing they did was to apologize to their hurt followers. As a brand, you need to speak up and own up to your responses.

The social media community is very quick to sniff whiffs of dishonesty from brands. Silently hoping that the social media hawkers will overlook your boo-boos is plain wishful thinking. Only, you need to realize and respond to whatever happened. Be honest. Be transparent. There are too many people watching out, so, if you realize your mistake, start by making amends.

The next step is to realize how much the PR crisis at hand can affect the organization’s normal workflow or distract the senior management? Can it smudge the organization’s image irrevocably?

what to do when PR fails to do brand disasterWhatever the case may be, you need to sit down with the marketing department and the crisis management section to plan out a solution.  Sometimes you can pass off a blunder with a humorous remark in an attempt to clutch at straws and make people laugh it off. Just like KFC apologized with a full-page ad in today’s Metro. A masterclass in PR crisis management!

Be quick to respond to the social

Once you figure out that your followers are eager to see your response, time is of the essence. Here, you can combine humour with an apology and use social media as your ally to quickly take control of the situation.

How to save your brand by being on social mediaWhat most organizations fail to do is to make their customer service reps diligently monitor the response of the customers. Your reps can be trained to handle any degree of PR crises and can act like an empowered team to handle the catastrophe on their own, without waiting for a cue from the upper layers of echelon.

“An immediate social media response is the key. In most cases, your goal should be to respond within an hour. If you let too much time pass, a lot of negativity can fill that void.” says Chris Britton, a chief operating officer for RockDove Solutions

Be transparent, be direct

Just as a bad response can ruin your PR image, a well-executed crisis can actually boost your brand image. The best companies can turn their PR crisis around into a grand opportunity.

Denying or delaying a response to see how things play their course, only means that you are avoiding a confrontation, which immediately makes you look guilty; something that will make your competitors jump over in glee. The best strategy is to own up to your mistakes, apologize to the affected parties, take steps to demonstrate how you’ll mitigate the damages and strive to do better in future, and move on.

“Brands need to accept that they are in a constant dialogue with their market. Campaigns will go wrong. Focus group-tested messages will fall flat. Employees will misbehave. But consumers will accept mistakes when the response feels appropriate.” ~Will McInnes, CMO, Brandwatch

Don’t take on a defensive stance. Act fast as a PR crisis will open up doors for your competitors to vilify you. Instead of running around the bushes, tell your customers that you have made a mistake, just like anyone can, and how you are willing to compensate for it.

A public relations disaster can be a problem for you – but you can also bounce back from it with pre-emptive measures. The key is to act quickly and get professionals in your corner as quickly as possible. You can even use influencers to get your message across in no-time.

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