Brand Phoenix – Re-Invent the Brand After a Crisis or #Fail
Orchestrate a Brand Come-Back: 5 Steps To Reinvent a Brand
Just as the phoenix emerges from the ashes, so too must a brand when faced with crisis or an epic fail.
In 1989, the San Francisco Bay Bridge suffered catastrophic damage during the earthquake that shook Northern California. While many were settling in to watch the World Series between two Bay Area teams; Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants, the earthquake wreaked havoc on the infrastructure of the Bay Area. I remember this event well. I was living right on the bay at the time and remember standing on the water’s edge that night, seeing only blackness where I had enjoyed the skyline of the City by the Bay so many evenings before.
I, and millions of others, have traveled the Bay Bridge many times. A vital connection between the city and East Bay, he bridge has been replaced with a better version of itself, and opened on Labor Day, 2013. Soon, the memory of the old bridge will fade.
Which got me thinking about how brands must also evolve over time – especially after a crisis or public #fail.
One of the worst thing a brand can do is to ignore crisis. In today’s transparent, social landscape, when **** happens, the brand that acknowledges the problem, solves the problem, and becomes better as a result, wins.
When your brand is faced with lemons – be prepared to make lemonade when faced with blow-back from a product or service failure, human error, natural disaster, or crisis.
5 Steps to Bringing a Brand Back From Crisis or #Fail
- Listen: Understand where the brand has fallen short or failed to meet the expectations of those vital to the success of the brand (customers, media, investors, employees). Use existing platforms like social media, surveys, feedback forms and help desk/customer service reports to identify the problem and who was most impacted by the problem.
- Respond: Communication is key in the wake of a crisis, no matter what the cause. Use social media monitoring tools to respond to mentions of the crisis on public blogs, comments, social media, forums, etc. It is important to keep employees and investors informed as well by way of internal communication vehicles – these people play an important role in helping to manage fall-0ut, and serve as extensions of the brand.
- Learn: Parse feedback and comments through filters to prioritize the most frequented points of pain or frustration. Evaluate what can be done immediately to address challenges, as well as what can be improved over time. Be sure to document your process for future reference.
- Adapt: Implementation is key. Act as quickly as possible to improve mission-critical process and interactions with customers. Build a plan to improve upon infrastructure, process and communication related to this event. Integrate into culture to prevent, or respond to future events. A sustainable brand will be required to adapt many times over its life.
- Re-Emerge: Everyone loves a come-back. Once the dust settles, adapt brand messaging to reflect the improvements and success of the brand. And, be prepared to back them up. Over time, positive experiences and reviews will replace memories of any damage done. And, the newest version of the brand can emerge bigger and better.
Adapt or Die.
Truth is, the marketplace in which the brand must operate changes every minute of every day. And, every once in a while, just as an earthquake can disrupt business as usual, businesses will be faced with some event that could make or break the brand. The brand that is ready, willing and able to use a crises, disaster or #fail event to become better, will sustain and succeed.