What Brands Should Do (and Not Do) During a Crisis
The recent disruptions to social life and the economy have left many brands wondering what the future holds. Likewise, numerous brands have attempted to capitalize on the trends, only to reach out in tone-deaf ways that alienate audiences. It should not be surprising that during a stressful time for most people, there is both a right and a wrong way to appeal to them.
How brands manage to handle crises – whether it be a global catastrophe or a self-inflicted one – says a lot about the brands themselves. Being ready to navigate these sticky situations is vital. As such, let’s delve into what brands should and should not do during any big crisis.
DO – Acknowledge People’s Suffering
For brands, there are generally two types of crises: the ones you cause, and the ones that are greater than your brand. In both situations, it is vital that you acknowledge what your customers, visitors, subscribers and audience in general is experiencing.
For a brand reaching out in the midst of this year’s pandemic, speaking humbly and sharing personal stories could empower a subtle marketing strategy and create some good PR at the same time. For those brands who have a reasonable overlap between peoples’ needs and struggles in the current environment, offering discounts or similar conveniences helps make a statement.
Likewise, if the crisis is self-inflicted, then it is even more important to acknowledge the pain and inconvenience caused before doing or saying anything else.
DO – Make Things Right
If your brand has made a mistake or engaged in some kind of unforced error, then pinging websites, social media accounts and email inboxes with the right statement is crucial. Ultimately, however, people want the mistake to be rectified as quickly as possible.
Whether it’s an issue with product quality, shipping times or a social faux-pas, make sure to go above and beyond in addressing the concerns. Fix them and let the world know they’ve been fixed. Any brand wishing to make things right should have no qualms about doing so and should not be looking for approval in their public statements.
DON’T – Become Abrasive, Arrogant or Antagonistic
The last thing anybody wants to see or hear from a brand that has made a mistake is a defensive posture. This kind of behavior simply makes your brand look tacky, ill-behaved and childish. Arguing with customers in review comments or on social media, sending snappy replies via email or even being antagonistic in press releases are all big no-nos.
If you feel tempted to get sassy with somebody in the proverbial peanut gallery, then take a breath, walk away and come back later. This will save face for your brand in the end.
DON’T – Stay Quiet
When major events not related to your brand occur, it can be hard to know how to respond. Brands have been attacked for “exploiting tragedy” with marketing and sales ploys in the past, but this doesn’t mean it’s excusable to stay quiet during a crisis. Any brand with a sophisticated marketing or content strategy should always be alert and active during any crisis. From social media blurbs to blog posts, share the stories of those who are suffering, share your sympathy and give people a way to make things better.
From pinging websites with press releases to saturating social media with sympathies, there’s a lot to consider in the midst of a crisis. Whether a global event or a catastrophe of your own, there are rules for how to handle the experience. By taking the advice above, you can formulate the basis for any crisis response in the future.