We have all seen it. A well-established company making an unintentional blunder which causes, at the very least, a retraction and in some cases, settlement cases valued in the millions of dollars.
Walmart is our country’s largest retailer. They desire to provide consumers with a varied range of products and goods. Unfortunately, the company ran into a problem when they ran a Halloween promotion on their website which included the category of “Fat Girl Costumes”. The site went viral and by the time their apologized, the damage to their brand was significant. As ideas are presented to the top brass, it is critical to keep in mind ALL of your customer demographic bases.
This example is but one of many very fine organizations that have made unintentional mistakes that have left a temporary (and in some cases a permanent) mark against their reputation and brand.
When a company experiences negative press that brings their brand/reputation into question— temporarily or permanently— the results produce low employee morale which leads to employee dissatisfaction, poor productivity, absenteeism and turnover of some of its best employees.
Without an effective strategy, your hard-earned image can be fractured when a crisis strikes. To keep your reputation intact and rebuild when necessary, ongoing training and coaching the C-Suite, managers, staff, first line employees, and volunteers are a necessity if businesses, schools, and other organizations intend to remain profitable and competitive.
To reconstruct your brand, consider this:
- As we stated in the last blog, you MUST have a plan and that should include calling your communications professional team who will formulate the best method to resolve the problem immediately.
- Monitoring social media. Look for inaccuracies and refer people to the company’s communications professional team.
- Don’t let pride get in the way. Be honest about your company’s weaknesses and potential crises. Identify and discuss them in regularly hosted sales/staff meetings and corporate-wide training sessions. Develop a strategy to strengthen the weak areas.
The organization that finds itself in a brand crisis should explain to consumers via all effective media outlets why the problem arose and list specific, concise and HONEST reasons how they will earn back their loyalty as they resolve the problem of the unfortunate event.