I read an article the other day by freelance journalist Jessica Hullinger called ‘INSIDE A PR DISASTER’ it discussed the latest global brand disaster and how speed, transparency and accountability are the keys to bouncing back and looking after your hard earned reputation.
Disaster struck the sandwich king Subway when its spokesman and TV commercial anchorman Jared Fogle’s home was raided in connection with a child pornography investigation. Subway were quick to respond by releasing a statement saying they were suspending relationships with him.
This is high-profile brand linked to a very serious investigation, but this isn’t the kind of problem exclusive to big brands, it can happen to anyone and any business, so what do you do if it happens to you?
Put an incident plan in place that anticipates any potential PR disaster. Think about your PR risks; employee mis-conduct, product failure, bad service, fraud, the list goes on.
Choose your response team. Identify those people within your organisation who are able to make decisions, are informed about your business activities, contactable out of office hours, and calm in the face of a crisis. Your reputation may depend on it.
Create your statements of response. You’ll never be able to anticipate how a potential PR disaster might unravel but you can develop holding statements ready to share with the media, customers and staff that indicate you are in control of the situation and go some way towards retaining your reputation.
The best advice I can give is to plan ahead for this very day, as a business you have a responsibility to the people that have trust in you. It could be the media, your employees, your shareholders, or customers, people will be looking to you for reassurance, don’t let them, or yourself down, by providing an inadequate response that may affect your reputation.
If you find yourself in a reactive position without a plan, don’t panic, don’t say no comment, and don’t ignore the issue. Deal with it sincerely and get on top of the situation quickly.
Have you had your reputation challenged; how did you handle it? Do leave me a comment if this has helped you in preparing for any incident that could affect your reputation.