Keeping Your Brand Cool In A Crisis

We've all seen it -- spokespeople knocked off their pedestals overnight, flagship products sprouting performance issues, or campaigns launched only to find that culturally sensitive material has been introduced. Sometimes, when these crises occur, brands are able to weather the storm. But all too often, the result is fatal.

What is the key to surviving this marketer's nightmare? Effective brand management.

Today, as the penetration of social media continues to grow, the days of being able to sit back and strategize a response to a crisis are long gone. By the time you've called the meeting, it's already too late. Someone else along the way has stepped in and given your response -- whether you like it or not.

With this new relationship model, speed matters. How quickly can you deliver the message in the right way? How can you adapt it as needed and make sure that it is consistent across the board? Whether it means pulling ads featuring a controversy-laden spokesperson, changing messaging that is offensive to certain cultures or not leading with a product that isn't performing at its best -- you need to react quickly and just as important, consistently. For large global brands with distributed marketing networks, that is a lot harder to do than it sounds.



You can exert control of your brand by controlling the content -- how and where it is stored, parameters for its use and how and where it is delivered. All marketing is local marketing, so if you are a corporate marketer in Pasadena, Calif., and you have customers in Poughkeepsie, Shanghai, Dallas and Basel, the marketing to those customers needs to embrace the brand, but speak to them in a cultural and literal language that causes them to act. If you have systems in place that allow you to create consistent, persuasive content that is localized, and a crisis occurs, you can update your assets in a matter of seconds and your local marketers can move forward in synch with you.

There are several brands out there that have brand management down to a science, including Audi, Sprint and H&R Block. By putting effective brand management protocols in place, and ensuring that the entire marketing organization -- especially at a local level -- has all of the tools that it needs to succeed, these companies ensure that when in crisis, all marketers, regardless of location, know how to proceed.

1 comment about "Keeping Your Brand Cool In A Crisis ".
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  1. Marketing Technologist from Marketing Technology Consultants, March 11, 2010 at 11:32 a.m.

    While the content of this article has merit, you have lost a great deal of credibility by publishing this author. A quick web search shows that Mr. Thomson has no marketing expertise at all. He has a background as a storage hardware salesman. The article was clearly written by someone else and looks suspiciously like something placed by a PR firm to make his company look like experts. Again, a quick search shows that the company he works for is a technology provider, not a marketing firm. Shame on you MediaPost for falling for this fraud.

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