Reputation management: Handling major PR campaign disasters

Alistair Roque Published on May 27, 2015

problematic-businessman
No matter how much time and effort you spend on each of your marketing campaigns, you will always be vulnerable to major marketing failures and public relations (PR) crises. In most cases, the audience won t care about why you allowed such mistake to happen. How you respond to each crisis is what your reputation management emergency plan should focus on.

There are many PR accidents that could happen despite your stringent monitoring and preparation. Someone from your team could accidentally post an offensive or grammatically incorrect Tweet or Facebook post. Personal information of your customers may be leaked by hackers. Your customer support representative could respond impolitely while the customer is recording the call. In a matter of minutes, your brand could go viral in a very unpleasant way.

First things first

After gathering all the facts, you’re now ready to air your side of the story to your audience. Take note that not every detail should be made public. Select the ones that you think your customers would want to know. Adding unnecessary layers to your statement could just lead to misinterpretations or more negative feedback.

businessman-with-magnifying-lense-looking-at-computer-codes-and-text

Resolving marketing crises doesn t have to be complicated, though it’s extremely important to execute each step carefully since another wrong move could hurt your brand reputation even more. The first step is never to respond instantly. Instead, start by thoroughly investigating how the mistake took place by gathering relevant facts and figure. Don’t rush yourself in studying what exactly went wrong. After all, you don’t want to release a poorly prepared statement and then retract it shortly after.

Humiliating people by pinning the blame to a select few won t do you good either. Your goal is to regain your credibility as an reputable organization. If a mistake was indeed committed, own it on behalf of your employees. Apologize when necessary, and be honest when explaining how the mistake came to be.

Preventing further damage to your credibility

If people reach out to you through emails, calls, or reviews, respond to them immediately. Customers who are disappointed about your recent mishap can turn their backs any minute. You must do your best to earn their trust back and turn them into brand advocates again. Respond to each complaint sincerely. You simply can t assume that everyone has seen or read your public apology.

panicking-business-team-in-a-PR-crisis

Once the dust settles, it’s highly essential for you to prevent the same mistake from happening again. Go back and check the contributing factors to the crisis. If there s something broken, fix it. Prevention is always the best response to any form of company crisis. Before launching another marketing campaign or implementing a new process, conduct a test run and collect feedback. This will lead to lower chances of encountering another failure.

Marketing failures are great opportunities for you to show to people how much you care about how they feel. PR crises are nothing but challenges that you can overcome if you prepare a systematic recovery plan. Most of the time, you’ll only have one chance to make things right again. So take your time and resolve the issue with extreme caution. If you execute each step well, your customers will remember you for being effective in handling a crucial issue that concerns their welfare.

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