Throughout an incident you’re brand will have constant attention and you will need to defend it to make sure it remains intact. Following this, when your crisis almost seems over your organization could then find itself standing on trial in the court room while your brand also stands on trial in the eyes of the public.
Below are 4 steps which can help minimise the damage caused for your customers...
How your organisation operates on a daily basis can either help or hinder you during an incident. If your employees, customers and members of the community already view your company in a negative or questionable light, this can increase the risk of damage to your brand when something goes wrong. It’s important to maintain a positive public image during normal business operations so when an incident occurs your reputation is not also added to the list of unknown variables.
Being well established on all major social media channels will give you more control over your brand image in a crisis. If you fail to engage with your customers and the public and remain unseen online, this puts you at greater risk when something unexpected happens. It gives your adversaries the ability to mould your reputation to suit their perspective and story.
Report candidly on the the status of the situation based on facts. While it may be easier not to report some of the harsher details during an incident, failing to do so can cause the situation to worsen greatly. Staff must be aware that the truth, however bad it may sound, must be communicated regardless of the consequences. This must be incorporated as a core value into the culture of your organisation to ensure it is put into practice when needed. Managing recovery efforts based on vague or misleading facts can cause a incident to escalate in severity very quickly.
No one likes to be associated with bad news. Once you have contained the situation and made a full recovery, you should aim to end what may be a sad story for some in a positive way. Being able to demonstrate and prove that you had all the information needed and the response was carried out in line with the highest standard of protocol shows you have done your best, and that’s what matters now. Having a full log of how the incident was handled which will stand up in court is more than enough to end any media speculation.
It's important to remember, when you can't get your hands on the information you need in a crisis, or when the information you have isn't appropriate, you can miss opportunities and your performance drops. As it happens, the information management ability organisations need to succeed is already within their grasp.