A crisis can leave your company’s online reputation in shambles. Reputation damage is a risk for everyone who is in the public eye and is almost unavoidable for any individual or organisation with a global, online, or even high street presence.
The current socio-economic and political climate across the globe has become volatile, and anyone with a public presence is prone to scrutiny. Thanks to the rise of social media, brands — more than ever — are walking a tight rope. A “crisis” for many is therefore inevitable but not impossible to handle if done so proactively and professionally.
Online Reputation Recovery gives a customised and integrated communicative approach in handling an ongoing crisis. Focussing on how to rebuild credibility after the event. However, recovery from a reputation crisis is not always simple and can take time.
Constantly monitoring your Online Reputation can help prevent the — often long-lasting — negative effects of an Online Reputation Crisis.
How to rebuild a reputation after a crisis:
1. Keep talking
Communication is key. Staying silent on a complex subject or being slow to admit a fault, will only damage your reputation further. Say sorry and say it soon, and when doing so, focus on the positives, and try to reframe the negative issues. Understand who you’re speaking to and, that through social media every comment will be analysed and criticised. Make sure you are open about what has gone wrong and be clear by discussing the steps being taken to rectify the problem.
2. Take responsibility at the right time
Having admitted the fault, make sure you fix it. Actions speak louder than words, and nothing will prolong reputation damage more than doing nothing to rectify the issue. Timing is vital, it is essential to act quickly and strategically. There’s no point however, apologising and fixing the initial problem if another catastrophe is waiting in the wings. Make sure you have enough information on the entire situation before you start mending the damage.
3. Be authentic
Responding to reputation damage without thinking about it, can reflect poorly on your company and its social responsibility. Demonstrating a social conscience and recognising your organisation’s impact on society, for good or bad, is key. Be authentic. For example, if you belong to a profit-first organisation, there is no point in trying to hide it, that will only backfire in the long term and can seem disingenuous.
4. Show strong leadership
Whether fair or not, some circumstances are beyond our control. Leaders, managers, and CEO’s are increasingly targeted online when their organisations face a crisis. Consumers often demand immediate action, so sometimes the cleanest and quickest solution might have to be a change of face at the top. A new leader coming into a reputation crisis can turn the tide, for the greater good, but only if they show resolve and take decisive and effective action.
5. The best defence
The best offence is a good defence. The best way to rebuild a reputation quickly and effectively is to be prepared by planning in advance. Try to prevent the crisis in the first place by having a plan in place to manage risks.
Rebuilding a reputation after a crisis can be expensive and time-consuming. It requires a solid strategy, commitment, determination and the drive to succeed. In today’s highly competitive world, being genuine, open, transparent and trustworthy is crucial to surviving and earning consumer's trust. While a reputation crisis can temporarily jeopardise this, these steps can help ensure a speedy recovery and a long term, solution-oriented approach to managing any crisis.
Online reputation management can be complex, it could take a long time before you see any results. The process can be sped up considerably, however, by engaging with professionals early on. The dedicated team at YESpbm can help solve these issues. YESpbm is transparent about their process, offers a confidential free consultation and, can even guarantee a result.
Sources: Board Members, Smart meetings