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How to React to a Brand Image Crisis

Obviously, you want to avoid brand crises in the first place. Sometimes, though, bad things happen to good brands. If your brand undergoes a crisis, you need to be ready to launch into defensive action.

  1. Activate your emergency communication system.

    Contact those who need to know first about the threatening event.

  2. Gather everyone who can help you with this brand crisis.

    Immediately assess the situation. Determine whether the situation affects your organization legally, financially, administratively, operationally, or in other ways.

  3. Craft a message that explains what happened and what your organization will do to restore safety and confidence.

    When writing your message, limit it to a few sentences.

  4. Name who you want to serve as your primary spokesperson and secondary spokesperson.

    Also, figure out what additional experts you need to call on to explain the situation.

  5. Make a list of a dozen or so of the toughest questions you think your spokesperson will be asked.

    For each question, prepare and rehearse a short response that includes the name of the person who can provide additional legal, technical, or other specific information.

  6. Prepare a news release that explains the situation.

    Tell who, what, where, when, why, and how you’re dealing with the situation.

  7. Make your announcement and distribute your news release as quickly as possible.

    In addition to circulating your prepared release, deliver a concise statement that focuses on the steps you’re taking to achieve a positive outcome.

  8. Open a media center where you can meet with reporters.

    Here, reporters can access the story, but it keeps them far enough from the hub of activity so that they don’t overhear unplanned comments.

  9. Activate an emergency Web site.

    Or add designated pages to your current Web site to present breaking news and background information.

  10. Constantly update and distribute information that provides situation and response updates.

    Include the steps your organization is taking to ensure the safety of people and products.

  11. When the crisis subsides, assess the impact on your brand.

    Begin work immediately to restore your brand strength.

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