5 Tips for Managing a Digital Branding Crisis
Years ago, building a reputable brand took years of television, radio, and print marketing. These days, however, things have changed, and it is possible to build an outstanding digital brand seemingly overnight. Unfortunately, if a crisis comes along, that brand could fall apart just as quickly. Here are some tips for managing a digital branding crisis.
#1 – Fight the Urge to Panic
When it seems as if all of the hard work it took to build your brand might come crashing down around you in the midst of a digital branding crisis, fight the urge to panic. You will need to rely on a solid understanding of the facts and a calm temperament to get you through it. Pay close attention to the facts, and never comment on anything that you don’t know to be true. Stay calm, collect the facts, and take some time to think about how you will react to the crisis at hand before you make any statements.
#2 – Try to Empathize with the “Victims”
All too often, a digital branding crisis starts with one individual who has an unsatisfactory experience with your company. There are an unlimited number of things that can cause customer dissatisfaction. Although you may feel like you and your company are being attacked on a personal level, this is generally not the case. Once you’ve sorted through the facts, you can more easily figure out who the real “victim” is. Then you can focus on getting to the heart of the problem, helping the victim, and putting the crisis behind you.
#3 – Be Honest and Straightforward
After you know the truth, you might feel tempted to only tell part of the truth, or you may even think that an outright lie can solve the problem. In most situations, this will only make things more difficult in the long run. If it just so happens that your business made a significant mistake, the best thing you can do – even if it seems like the worst thing to do – is to own up to it. Tell people what you know to be absolute fact and nothing more. At first, you aren’t required to put a solution into place, but assuring people that you will resolve the problem is often enough to alleviate some of the stress.
#4 – Remember that the Press Is Not Your Enemy
In many cases, the press comes on strong during a digital branding crisis, and it may even seem as if the media blows things out of proportion. Just as much as it seems like the media wants to tell the victim’s story, they also want to tell your story. The press is never your enemy, so remember to play fair. It may seem like the perfect time to call in favors or try to win people over, but the best thing to do is remember the real victims. After all, once the crisis has passed, the media will remember your professionalism and credibility, which can play a vital role in rebuilding your brand.
#5 – Provide Frequent and Open Updates
Finally, the absolute worst thing anyone can do in a digital branding crisis is remain silent. Oftentimes, this comes across as an immediate admission of guilt. These days, when almost all communication happens instantly and people are waiting for you to make a statement, even half an hour can seem like an eternity and hurt your brand even more. Provide frequent updates and statements, even if there is nothing new to report.
Managing a digital branding crisis can be stressful, to say the least. For the most part, the best advice is to avoid the urge to panic, only react to facts, and remember that the press does not want to see you go out of business any more than you do. With plenty of open and honest communication, you can get through it.