Recently, PRWeek and Zignal Labs conducted a Brand Health Survey, asking 173 senior communications executives about the top two threats their brands face.
- 64.2 percent worried about a product recall or service issue.
- 53.8 percent feared a misstep by a top executive.
- 38.7 percent dreaded a financial crisis.
- 23.4 percent were concerned about fake news.
- 19.1 percent were alarmed by potential shareholder activism.
Here’s the real wakeup call: When asked how many crises their organizations experience annually, 43.9 percent said one to five, 20.8 percent placed the number between six and 10, and a sobering 14.5 percent said their brand equity was at risk more than 20 times a year.
Mower Public Relations & Public Affairs has helped clients avoid potential issues and better navigate crisis situations for 50 years — from food recalls to inflammatory comments from C-suite executives. We’ve observed three primary factors that can help brands avoid issues, mitigate damages and recover quickly.
- Connectivity with Critical Audiences: Every company has a set of important stakeholders, including customers, employees, wholesalers/retailers, investors, government regulators and reporters. By regularly communicating with these groups, chances are you will learn of potential issues early and, when situations develop, benefit from a higher trust level. Corporate social responsibility programs, sustainability communications and other forward-thinking practices further build your brand, providing cover when storm clouds gather.
- Preparation to Meet Threats: Companies that successfully deal with tough challenges tend to be the best prepared. There is alignment with a strong mission, vision and values. A crisis plan has been built, and a team of battlefield commanders — executives from operations, human resources, logistics and communications — meet regularly to assess risk and drill using likely scenarios. Investments in tools — from software platforms to social media presence to media training programs — help enable a rapid response when needed.
- Integrity, Resilience and Locomotion: If you are in business long enough, you are going to take a few hits. Some will be unfair, others deserved. Your company’s honesty, willingness to make things right and ability to move forward when others adopt a bunker mentality all make a major difference in the duration and damage of a crisis.
Crises come at inopportune times. Preparedness pays no matter the situation, giving you the time, skill and tools needed to better manage the outcomes.