What do you do if your brand’s reputation takes a major hit? Repairing a damaged image is essential to your survival, but it’s not going to be easy. Just ask BP, Toyota, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Carnival Cruise Lines, or any other brand that has suffered a PR disaster in recent years. Recovering from the damage can take a long time, if you’re lucky enough to recover at all.
Follow these tips to give your brand the best chance of restoring its reputation after a major PR crisis.
Apologize for your mistakes—The first step to getting on the path to redemption is to ask for forgiveness from your audience. Admit your mistakes, show that you really are contrite, be compassionate toward those you harmed, and make it clear that this will never happen again. When Tylenol suffered through the 1982 “Chicago Tylenol Murders” in which cyanide was slipped into many packages of Tylenol, they responded quickly and were praised for being “contrite and compassionate” by The Washington Post.
Understand that it takes time—Restoring your image isn’t something that lends itself to an instant fix. Most people are willing to forgive and give you a second chance, but that takes time. When your brand has a major slipup, it will leave a lasting image in the mind of your customers. Replacing that image with something positive will take a consistent effort over time.
Take steps to make it doesn’t happen again—The truth is you can’t prevent every mistake and every incident. Bad things happen. People understand that. What’s unacceptable is to let the same bad thing happen over and over again. When something goes wrong and your company makes a mistake, you have to take steps to make people feel confident that it will never happen again.
Move on and exceed expectations—After Martha Stewart was released from prison for lying to the government about a stock sale, she rebuilt her image by getting busy and being better than ever. That meant landing a ton of new merchandise deals, designing new homes, and writing a book, amongst other things. The point is that she moved on. At some point, you have to just move forward and make your company better than ever. If you can consistently exceed expectations going forward, you can eventually put all of this behind you and restore your brand’s reputation.
What other tips would you offer for restoring a tarnished brand? Share your best tips by commenting below.