20 Ways to Build & Protect Reputation during COVID-19

March 14, 2020

20 Ways to Build & Protect Reputation during COVID-19 As we face the localized impact of COVID-19’s global public health crisis, it is vital that leaders recognize that these are times that can either build up or tear down your and your brand’s reputation. It’s your choice and will be dictated by whether a proactive or reactive strategy is implemented. For some leaders, this may be the first major crisis you have faced in your executive post.  For others, this may be another notch on your crisis management belt.  Regardless of what camp you are in, I can assure you from my more than two decades of crisis management work, that every crisis is its own beast – and must be planned for and addressed in that manner. I have helped many organizations and leaders find reputational opportunity in the face of adversity – and to be clear, that does not mean being opportunistic and taking advantage of people! What I mean is that these are times when leaders have the opportunity to draw closer to their customers and employees.  There are opportunities to become more than a service provider, an association organization, or an entertainment destination.  These are times when you can become more than the product or service you deliver or provide.  You can become a resource of comfort, understanding, healing, inspiration, and solutions, that will deliver huge reputational dividends both during and after a crisis. Many of you have already begun to implement customer and employee Social Distancing protocols.  For those that do not have internal systems in place, it’s easy for this to become a follow-the-leader scenario. But remember, your organization is not a follow-the-leader brand, is it?  Of course not. Below is a 20-point crisis resource for you and your team to review and use.  I’d urge you to consider how you can implement this in your own way to build, protect, and strengthen your reputation and, ultimately, your business. I broke this resource into two key buckets as the majority of crisis work falls within these two areas of work – communication and customer service – and encompass a large percentage of key audiences to address. Communication Never speculate during a crisis situation to your employees or customers; it is acceptable, when questioned, to say that you/your team are gathering information to ensure it is accurate. Then, you must deliver on this as soon as you can. Media training for one, designated representative must be done to ensure that key messages are effectively delivered and best represent the brand and its values. Those messages could include your company’s safety protocols, customer service channels, working with local health authorities, etc. Regular internal employee communication is absolutely critical to snuff out rumors. Remember that speculation breeds in the absence of information.  Senior leadership should set up and use internal communications channels and alert your employees that leadership will be providing updates, perhaps daily or weekly. Social Media is a vital channel for communication and should be used to deliver updates for customers or other key stakeholders. Ensure that you have a senior executive reviewing all corporate […]

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