Crisis can come in many forms. A tragic accident, a political or public relations scandal, or a global pandemic can impact your brand in ways you never imagined. When a crisis hits, your brand must be protected for your organization to survive and rebuild. The good news is, when it’s done right, crisis recovery can improve the reputation of a brand. If you are faced with the prospect of recovering from a crisis, serial entrepreneur Jason Kulpa suggests that you ask yourself four critical questions.
Am I Serving My Customer’s Needs?
In 2018, KFC restaurants across Ireland and the UK were not meeting their customers’ needs when a chicken shortage forced 900 restaurants to close their doors temporarily.
Thinking quickly, the company developed an online service to direct customers to the nearest branch where chicken was available. KFC published apologies describing the situation as “not ideal.” Then, they got to work doing all they could to feed hungry customers. They also took the opportunity to lean into the sense of humor the brand had cultivated in recent years.
Am I Putting Employees and Customers Ahead of Profit?
Owners of Dell computers may remember the crisis that the company faced in 2006 when reports of laptops spontaneously combusting began to spread. Dell handled this crisis well by swiftly acknowledging the threat to their customers’ safety and recalling more than 4 million units. They also pointed out that the faulty laptop parts were not made by their company but by Sony Corp.
When other computer manufacturers began recalling laptops due to the same faulty Sony batteries, Dell’s reputation was elevated as a company that accepts responsibility and puts the wellbeing of their customers ahead of profit.
Am I Leading from Values?
Toyota Motor Corp built their brand on the ideals of safety and reliability. But in 2009, a series of deadly accidents caused by faulty brakes and sudden acceleration led to a massive recall of Toyota vehicles. The brand’s reputation took a well-deserved beating as news spread that Toyota had been aware of some safety issues for several years leading up to the crisis.
After a bungled effort to apologize only seemed to make things worse, leadership at Toyota landed on a more effective strategy. By focusing on the company’s values and launching a campaign that highlighted their factories and workers in the United States, the brand succeeded in shifting attention back to a wholesome, reliable “made in America” image.
Am I Identifying New Opportunities?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business can’t be overstated. Companies that have survived and even thrived during the pandemic are those that have been able to pivot.
Some restaurants launched their own delivery companies, while musicians who could no longer perform at big venues found success streaming live shows on social media. Larger companies like Dyson, known for their innovative vacuum cleaners, developed a new type of ventilator used to save lives all across the U.K. By seeing crisis as an opportunity, you can move out of the box that once limited your business.
Crisis can hit your brand at any time, and as entrepreneurs have learned with COVID-19, that crisis can be no fault of your own. Whatever the circumstance may be, your brand’s survival depends on how you respond to a crisis when it comes.
About Jason Kulpa
Jason Kulpa is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of UE.co, San Diego’s Fastest Growing Business multi-year award winner, and a Certified Great Place to Work multi-year winner. Jason’s mission is to bring awareness, support, and inclusion for special needs causes.