Know what areas you need to respond to, and what areas are irrelevant. “You don’t want to get into a [situation] to try to prove things to the media,” she says. “You can make a mistake in trying to prove your case. You may say too much, which can allow room for scrutiny.” You can acknowledge the incident, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept responsibility publicly. Show the appropriate concern, but indicate that you need time to handle the incident and would appreciate respect of your personal privacy, depending on the case.
- Keep in mind what stage of the process you’re in. “How you respond when it first starts is very different from how you would in middle or after,” Evans says. “Three different goals, three different responses.”
- Never underestimate the importance of humility. “People like to see humility to regain trust in your brand,” Evans says. “People love second chances, but they only give that after humility. That’s what you saw with Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Chris Brown. Lot of examples on how humility can help.” For a small business owner, this could be as simple as having humility about a service or product you provided that might not have been satisfactory to customers. “If a customer or client is unhappy, you want to rebuild trust,” Evans adds. “That starts with accepting responsibility and offering positive alternatives.”
- If there is a major negative impact on a customer/client base, you may need to rebrand yourself. That might include a new campaign to get customers to trust you. “Branding is about perceptions, and when it changes, you may have to reassess your strategy — whether its your marketing, staff, location, etc.”
- If there are legal consequences involved, a lawyer should be consulted sooner than later. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a lawyer in a worst case scenario. And your publicist should work in conjunction with the legal representation to deliver the appropriate message.