Jordan Edelson CEO of Appetizer Mobile featured in one of Forbes latest articles:
Post written by Forbes Agency Council
Even the best-laid plans can come to a crashing halt when a PR crisis rolls into town. Customers can be fickle and take a successful brand to the dust if they aren’t authentic in their offering. Struggling sales, changes in formula or even a name they can’t relate to can make customers turn up their noses and walk away.
Can a company recover from the backlash and move forward with a product that has been deemed unworthy by the public? It can be done, as many brands have proven. Below, 15 Forbes Agency Council members share their advice on how you can retain authenticity, turn things around in the heat of the battle and gain your customers back even in the worst of crises.
1. Be Honest
The most important factor in remaining authentic through a PR crisis or facing public backlash against your product or service is to remain honest and humble in your approach. Take ownership for your mistakes or misgivings in customer service and then provide a genuine plan of action for how your company will rectify the situation and move forward in a positive direction. – Brock Murray, seoplus+
2. Build A Community
The best response to a crisis comes from a community of loyal customers and not from a PR firm. For that reason, Apple has been virtually untouchable for years. Try to tell an Apple fan that something is wrong with Apple and you can count on them to explain to you why it isn’t. Building a community around your brand is hard, but it is potentially the most valuable marketing asset you may have. – Gil Eyal, HYPR!
3. Be Authentic, Rain Or Shine
There’s no “half authentic” – a brand can only be authentic or not. So in times of crisis or in case of unhappy customers, be real. Show you care and show you’re sorry. Don’t hide behind a facade of “everything is fine,” or worse, blame others. Of course, a brand or company can only be as authentic as its leadership and thus, its culture. So it’s not something to “decide” or “do” just like that either. – Jean-Luc Vanhulst, Write2market, Inc.
4. Plan For Problems
It’s a fact of life: Things are going to go wrong now and then. If you ignore that fact, you may end up paying in the form of clumsy, delayed or unfocused responses to customers or the media. Arm your staff with the knowledge and tools to “make it right” before a service molehill turns into a mountain. Then, learn from the problem. The world can be very forgiving when you ‘fess up and fix it. – Scott Greggory, MadAveGroup
5. Assume Human-Like Characteristics
It’s important to be honest and transparent, but if you’re looking to appear authentic, then it’s equally important to be human-like. People are likely to relate to you if you share similarities with them, similarities that can make it easier to see things from your perspective. If you make a mistake, own it, and help your audience connect with the level of integrity you appropriate as you fix it. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
6. Admit Setbacks
The best way to maintain authenticity during down times is to admit to your setbacks. This is sometimes psychologically hard to do, but when you’re honest with yourself and your company, you’re also honest to the customer. Your customers can see through lies and cover-ups; don’t waste energy on this. Instead, put energy towards the solution to the problem and stronger client service. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
7. Clearly Define Your Brand And Hold Your Company Accountable
A brand strategy needs to be long term, strategic and communicated to internal stakeholders. Everyone who touches the customers’ brand experience must understand what is and is not consistent with the desired brand. When a company invests in defining tangible attributes and intangible attributes – values and personality – they can navigate the most challenging corporate crises and remain authentic. – Nikki Tanis, Tanis Communications, Inc.
8. Eliminate Corporate Speak
I think the term “authenticity” is too vague. Sometimes companies can’t be honest or transparent for a variety of reasons. However, eliminating corporate speak, taking responsibility, and being proactive to fix a problem can go a long way to keeping a brand intact. – Lisa Allocca, Red Javelin Communications
9. Have Executives Step Up
By utilizing a direct means of communication from executive management to the consumer, a brand can remain authentic. Having executive management address a PR crisis can help considerably in resolving issues. You see from time to time CEOs posting public apologies and addressing issues themselves directly, which offers a much more authentic means of communication by taking personal responsibility. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
10. Listen To Your Customers
It’s tempting to want to “say your piece” and justify a point of view when chaos is swirling, but taking a step back and listening to clients and customers is essential to earning their trust. Provide customers an easy way to give feedback, whether it’s via social media, a contact form via website, a direct number to reach customer service or a chat feature. Listen and make the necessary changes. – Goran Paunovic, ArtVersion Interactive Agency
Read the entire article at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/09/18/how-to-be-authentic-and-turn-around-your-brand-in-the-face-of-crisis/#64f90bf83355