Feature Image Source: Flickr/Tommy Ingberg
In the year 2016, we have witnessed groundbreaking revolutions in various industries however, the year was nightmere-ish for several popular brands. Yep we can rightfully say that 2016 has been the year of scandals for leading brands and even Apple couldn’t save itself from a law suit. Besides, businesses from across the world have suffered massive losses due to scandals and various cases of fraud. While there are several things at stake for a company undergoing scrutiny or hit by scandals, its public perception of the brand that suffers the most. Some anecdotal and/or confirmed evidence suggest that in some cases the damage is irreparable.
Some companies faced law suits other were actively bashed on social media. However, in the midst of all this chaos, it became evident that they lacked the professional expertise to deal with scandals growing out of control. It’s what we call the PR problem. Yet you will notice some brands took a rather derisive approach for damage control.
Damage Control Strategy
The immediate action when a business gets hit by a scandal is to find the source responsible and to distance it from the brand. That’s the first step and what comes next is a complete overhaul. As expected, the most common method of resurfacing was rebranding. Does it really work, is a question we should widely ask? This year several brands did a complete makeover by changing the logo, brand colors and some even introduced new packaging. It’s one of the most commonly used tactics by brands that are under inspection for some reason. This year Subway changed their logo after it faced several controversies. Check out some major tactics for damage control.
“If you’re facing a lawsuit, a sex scandal, a defective product, or allegations of insider trading, other PR experts will tell you to stay positive, get your message out, and everything will be just fine. But happy talk doesn’t help much during a real crisis, and it’s easy to lose sight of your real priorities.”
Damage Control: Why Everything You Know about Crisis Management is Wrong
Contain The Situation
While in the middle of a crisis, try gaining control of the situation and release a press statement before the news is the leaked in the media with misinformation. Take responsibility and reveal that you are committed to getting justice and finding the real culprits.
Go For Stealth Mode
Sometimes it’s best to maintain silence from the official side and employ the third party voices to take a stand for the brand. This tactic is pretty useful in cases where a brand can be caught on a defensive end. It will only give more opportunities to the abusers to prove their point.
Offer A Compensation
If a brand has somehow offended a particular community or a segment of people, they must be responded as soon as possible. Before they get together and form an alliance against the brand, offer them a service as compensation and tell them you will figure out what really happened.
Take Baby Steps
When your brand has suffered from a major crises, the ideal approach to make up for it is through baby steps. Try to take back your position steadily but with real corrective measures.
“A lot of PR disasters happen because companies ignore what appear to be isolated individual complaints or rumors until it is too late.”
Brand Management 101
We have left a lot back in 2016 but here’s a recap of major brand mishaps that shook us with surprise or left us rolling on the ground.