It’s known as Murphy’s law, the adage that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” This is true in life and in business, as any business owner will tell you.
I recently spoke to Martin Brochstein, SVP Industry Relations and Information for LIMA regarding the latest in their Webinar Series entitled: “When Bad Stuff Happens: How To Deal with A Brand or Product Crisis.”
LIMA, the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, is the primary trade organization for the worldwide licensing industry. They represent members in 35 countries, with offices in New York, London, Shanghai and Tokyo. Their mission is to bring together all segments of the industry for the advancement of professionalism in licensing.
The most important aspects your response should cover are “what it is that you know about the situation, how you feel about it and what you’re doing about it.” With these key points in mind, the following steps should also be followed:
1. Prepare in Advance – “Have a plan already in place so that when a crisis does arise you’re not making it up on the fly. Prepare and think about how you’re going to react in both a general and a specific sense.”
By having a contingency plan already prepared and going over this plan with your staff or employees, you lessen the work your brand needs to weather the storm of a crisis.
2. Have a designated point person – “As a company, you need to figure out who is going to be doing external communications. Have everything flow through that one person, whether it’s a PR person or some other executive who is designated as the mouthpiece for the company.”
Brochstein also stressed the importance of making sure employees and others that are not designated, understand they should not offer a statement on the event, and instead should refer all requests to the designated communicator.
3. Keep your staff in the know –Clear and concise internal communications are paramount to avoid misinformation from spreading. Employees should have a clear understanding of what’s going on, as to avoid rumors and other innuendo from spreading and possibly being relayed as fact.
4- Finalize the Statement – Before allowing a statement or reaction to the specific incident to be delivered, make sure it’s the appropriate and agreed upon statement that best represents the brand – “You want to avoid contradictory statements from coming out, or anything that will call the truth of what your brand is saying to be questioned. Figure out what the message is.”
Your message has to be authentic as it could ultimately decide how your customers and the public view your brand.
5- Get the word out - Use all available resources at your disposal to relay the message. If your company is already on social media, use Twitter, Facebook, etc., all to spread your response. Brochstein also stated not to overlook traditional methods such as press releases or small newsletters to get your message out.
“Whatever manner your customers and constituents use to communicate with your brand, be sure to have a version of the response communicated via that channel.”