12 October 2009 7 Comments

Brand in crisis: what to do?

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

brand crisis2brand in crisis 3Most times what leads to crisis is often subtle, careless approach to issues. Though there are clear cases of crises that are product of act beyond human control. Every crisis begins with issue that is not properly identified or managed before it generates into a major crisis. Crisis like strange disease or epidemic often begins with a small infection. Infection not properly managed often leads to epidemic. To manage crisis, brands need to be proactive. Waiting for crisis to happen before strategies are put in place is a bad policy that does not help anyone. Strategy that will help prevent, manage, recover/reconvert negative to positive is really important if a brand must escape total extinction after a major crisis. Brand’s ability, capacity to recognize volatile issues and nib them at the bud will help much than to wait so long for issues to have gained front burner both at the online and offline-traditional media. Every assumption that any issue will die a natural death must be erased. There is need for a prepared team that is versed in necessary skills, software that can handle pre-crisis as well as post crisis/recovery stages. Without all these, the brand in crisis will suffer untold condemnation. For pre-crisis preparation and planning, the old method of reliance on traditional media is no longer enough. The rate at which the crisis can spread online is now viral. So a comprehensive crisis plan that covers online and offline is really important. The team must know how to monitor forums, blogs, facebook, twitter. They must also keep a keen eye on traditional media guys, owners, editors etc. The team that will handle brand crisis must also have ready made contact lists of those who holds the anvil in continuous message dissemination. We will discuss at length the topic in our subsequent write ups. But let us conclude this piece by considering the following points when a brand needs to extinguish the fire of a crisis.

 1. Identify the crisis source

2. Identify the affected audience

3. Pull out your communication tools.

4. Select the right tools to use based on circumstances, situation

5. Keep an eye on the effect of your brand communication on all targets (online, offline)

6. Evaluate results, strategy effectiveness and work hard on lapses

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