Building and improving your startup’s reputation is as important as your other operations, because it’s the reputation that is going to have significant long term benefits. At times when things go wrong, it’s the reputation management that helps to earn new work.
Building startup reputation on solid grounds requires in-depth analysis and the strategies that complement your sales and marketing operations. So, the reputation management strategy during crises may vary but there are some standard guidelines that will always help positively.
This article will discuss those points that can help a startup to improve reputation during tough times. Here it goes:
1- Prepare for Pending Crises: Sometimes crises give us an early waning but we choose to ignore. It is advisable to identify and analyse incoming crises in order to think through the best steps to prevent them from happening in the first place.
If you have encountered crises in the past, you can learn from such mistakes and handle them accordingly. You should then analyse your startup’s readiness in case there is a crisis.
2- Have a Crises Plan Ready to Avoid Bad Press: You should try as much as possible to avert the media attention away from issues that may otherwise tarnish the name of your company.
Get a good media outlet that will allow you to tell the other side of the story and set the record straight. This is where PR strategists come in. They always know how to get the right reporter to tell your version of the story.
3- Choose and Prepare Spokespeople for Various Issues: Since some crises are inevitable, you need to prepare the CEO and other top executives to be able to handle the media. It is important to build the visibility of the company and represent yourself well before any crisis strikes.
A strategy most PR strategists employ to keep the image of the company safe is the “News jacking”. This is where they search for current news that gives company leaders a platform to comment and rebuild their reputation.
Since media is a very sensitive channel, it is important that key company leaders undergo media training before saying a word to the media. The company’s spokespeople can be prepared for public interviews by PR strategists who hare well-versed in the field of media. Let them know how and what questions to answer. “Sound bites” are equally important to captivate the audience’s attention.
4- Pay Attention Inside the Organization: Internal activities can sometimes be the cause of crises suggest reputationcommunications.com. For instance, the controversial “Up for Whatever” campaign slogan would have been stopped by Budweiser employees since it was in poor taste from the word go.
Monitoring the behaviour and work produced by the company leaders and employees will reduce chances of potential crises.
5- What Does the Outside Have to Say? Media monitoring is key. This is where you will be able to listen to the voices from outside your organization. Addressing negative media coverage before it spirals out of control will help you manage some situations. This include monitoring online, print and broadcast media. Know all the media channels and monitor them well!
6- Curb the Crisis Before it Escalates: Try all you can to stop negative media coverage from spreading. Although the internet allows content to be accessed by anyone, responding to a crisis within 24 hours is crucial. It is important to understand that a quick response to negative coverage will always salvage the reputation of the company and restore the public trust.
7- Out-class Your Opponents: Spotify publicly complained when Taylor Swift pulled her music. That was a wrong move. Why don’t you try shifting the attention from tragedy to remedy? Don’t finger-point anyone or put the blame on someone else. Address the necessary steps you intend to employ to avoid a similar crisis from happening. Be as clear and precise as possible.
You may have a specific strategy, tailored according to your business model, however, the above 7 items should ideally work in any situation!