When a business damages its reputation, the affects can be detrimental. Just take Google and Starbucks for example; although they are still renowned global companies, lately they have suffered negative headlines after appearing in front of the Public Accounts Committee accused of not paying enough tax.
Margaret Hodge, who chairs the parliamentary committee, has even called for customers to boycott the three companies. So as you can see, when a firm experiences harmful press, it can shake the fundamental foundations.
However, where there is a will there is a way, and anyone who has suffered some sort of business backlash can indeed rebuild the brand with some help. Online PR to the rescue! It can be difficult to reform a business once its reputation has been tainted but hope is not lost.
Effective PR is the best way to handle the situation and there a few simple stages to consider before combatting the debacle.
You are not untouchable
Too many businesses fall at the first hurdle because they believe that their brand is immune to bad press. That is not the case. There may be a point in the future that you have to deal with a crisis so it pays to be prepared.
Put a strategy in place so you know how to confidently solve the problem before it occurs. Collate the platforms that you want to get your message out on via various avenues including social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as press release distribution services.
Whatever you do, don’t shy away from the mess- it will only get worse. Tackle it head on and you will soon be yesterday’s news.
Don’t just tell people to trust you again, show them
The wrong mind-set that you can have is that your customers will just come back on their own accord. You need to show your consumers why they should return and convince them to trust you again.
If your business has produced a faulty product, replace it and offer customers a discount off their next purchase. Incentives like coupons and free samples can go a long way to reinstall confidence.
Get help from all outlets
A business can damage control by enlisting the help of various means. Use every opportunity that you have with special events and loyalty programs and rally the local/regional media.
Most consumers read the local newspaper- did you know that 75% of people in the Globbaly read, watch or listen to a news story every day, according to a recent survey?
Connect with communities and get your message across into the heart of society. Use both print and online media revenues to reach wide audiences.
Be personal, not nameless
You need to make your business appear personal and human because after all, as humans we do make mistakes. So when you are communicating to consumers, speak to them individually and reach out by email using people’s first names. Don’t be just another nameless corporation; be a friendly company that cares about each and every customer.
No-one is saying that you can rebuild a brand overnight. The key is to be realistic; it will take time but the steps mentioned above will certainly help. Re-establish the trust, reach customers on a personal level and by a plethora of platforms to maximise success.
Remember though; after you have saved the business’ repute it is a constant challenge to communicate with your customers and keep the brand thriving.