The answer is just about everything!
Let me put it this way: your brand’s values are what connect you to your stakeholders. It’s upon these shared values that relationships are built, bonds are formed and credibility is earned.
In a crisis, it’s easy to get swayed, lose track of these values and succumb to peer-pressure and end up losing your way. The result of this is often long-term repercussions on your brand’s reputation and bottom line (think Susan G. Komen). Why? Because once this mistake is made, once you go back on the values that connected you to your stakeholders, it’s hard – almost impossible in fact – to pick up the pieces and recover those relationships and your brand’s reputation.
How can you protect your organization from losing sight of your brand’s values in a crisis?
1- Define your brand values
First and foremost, define what your brand’s values are (if you haven’t already) and write them down. Usually this is done at the launch of a brand, but can easily be forgotten when you’re years down the road and in a high-profile crisis situation – especially when faced with incidents where you’re being bullied on social media.
2- Remember them always
Make sure that every member of your team, along with all of your marketing campaigns and brand messaging are always – and I mean always – in-line with your values. Especially in a crisis.
3- Plan for a crisis in advance
Develop a crisis management plan prior to experiencing a crisis, and train your staff and crisis team. Your crisis plan is your step-by-step guide to proper and efficient crisis management. It’s created to make sure that, come a crisis, you regain control as quickly as possible and that you suffer the least amount of brand damage. Consider it your insurance that a misguided mistake won’t be made under high-profile pressure.
Have you defined your brand values and are they engraved into the core of every one of your business decisions and message points? If you have any doubt, I recommend getting on it asap.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.