Warren Buffet once said that “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
These words ring true for those who have been on the wrong end of a scandal. You might think everything is going on well until you find your name in the news headlines for various reasons. As much as it is an attack on your reputation, it will affect the credibility of your company. Since no-one wants to work with a company that is fighting a scandal, you need to find ways to clean up your act and earn your credibility or let your company sink.
There are several situations that brew scandals. These include the following:
- If there was a company policy violation.
- If you are accused of defamation.
- If you say something inappropriate to the press.
- If you make an inappropriate online post.
- Being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
- If you pissed off someone who decided to use social media to get their revenge.
Repairing your reputation will take longer than it did to destroy it. There has been an increase in the number or reputation crisis’s since the society believes that an individual in a certain career needs to act and live in a certain way. When they fail to meet the expectations of the public, conflict arises. When this arises, you will need to consult a reputation manager who will assess the situation and guide you on the best way to deal with it so you can make a comeback. Here is how this will be done.
- Damage assessment
Before anything can be done, you need to have a damage assessment report prepared. This will include any possible effects of the scandal including digital hits. Doing this will give you a baseline and help you determine how serious the situation is. At times, you will find that the issue is not serious and can be handled quickly and quietly leaving you to focus on rebuilding your reputation. If the situation needs more extreme measures, you will know and act accordingly.
- Be honest and realistic
You need to be honest with your team so they can help you. You also need to be realistic when addressing the issue. Consult with experts in different departments so you can get the most informed report. This will make you set attainable goals when it comes to rebuilding the brand. Setting expectations will be the hardest part since you might find it taking too long to blow over. However, having unrealistic expectations is worse since you will get disappointed when things do not go as expected.
- Plan your strategies
You need to plan your strategy and determine if you will have to leverage the media. This does not work in all cases as there are some where stepping away from the spotlight is the best option. Sometimes you need to wait until things cool off before you make a statement.
This also applies to social media. The online community is extremely volatile and a simple word can be misinterpreted and start a war. You can leverage social media by using it to give feedback and show the world how you are improving the situation. This will go a long way in improving your public image.
- Explore all possible options
Depending on the nature of the scandal, you need to explore all options. If a crime was committed, you need to be ready to pay for the crime. You also need to pick your fights well. There is no need to drag an issue in court when a settlement could make everything go away. The solution to one crisis might not work for another. You need to weigh different options and apply the one that works best for that situation.
During a crisis, you are bound to be overwhelmed with emotion. If you find yourself wondering if you should get an expert, hire one. It will benefit you and your business and you can resume your normal life after this blows over. Remember that “Your reputation is worth cold, hard cash.” Strive to prevent your reputation from coming to question because cleaning up the mess will use more time and resources that could be redirected elsewhere.