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Brand Reputation Crisis: How to Manage a Catastrophe Online
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Brand Reputation Crisis: How to Manage a Catastrophe Online

Brand Reputation Crisis: How to Manage a Catastrophe Online
January 31, 2023

A positive brand reputation can lead to increased customer loyalty and trust, while a negative reputation can have the complete opposite effect.

Do you want to know if your brand is at risk online?
Talk to an expert

Your brand's reputation is based on factors such as the quality of products or services, customer service, and the brand's overall image and values. 

Brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill represent a significant portion of a company's market value - sometimes as much as 70% to 80%, Harvard Business Review highlights. This means that the reputation of an organization is crucial to its success.

Do you recognize your brand’s values in your customer’s reviews? Are you aware of their needs? Are you happy with how your company is perceived online? Are your customers loyal to your products and services? Is your media strategy representative of your brand? Are you monitoring your social channels?

As a brand owner in 2023, you need to have a clear understanding on how people view your products, your services and your company. Public perception and evaluation is directly linked to revenue and longevity of a brand,  a reputation crisis could cause a catastrophe.

We know keeping an eye on it is hard to do all alone, so If you’re not investing in protecting your brand to maintain and improve your reputation, this is your sign to start.

Signs of a brand’s downfall 

At this point, we all can think of at least one brand’s downfall. It’s scary. One bad step can lead to many negative consequences. It’s important to be ready, to be informed, and to know how to manage a catastrophe. But first of all, let’s  learn from the two examples of how not to do things.

Brand reputation specialists agree on Balenciaga’s scandal being the biggest of 2022. Nonetheless, this year already started on a bad note for Morphe. The bankruptcy file of the former makeup giant caught everyone by surprise, especially their employees who weren’t aware of the stores shutting down and their videos demanding answers on TikTok became viral.

These two companies might not have a lot in common, one being a fashion house and the other being a makeup store, but there much under the surface that these two different industries share when it comes to online scandals and social media crisis.

Two dangerous and helpful ingredients to keep an eye on:

These two strategies work most of the time, but when it comes to brand reputation, these marketing tools can be as successful as catastrophic:

1. Influencer Marketing: Morphe was one of the pioneers of this marketing technique. The efforts of the founders to create meaningful relationships with online content creators was the fuel of so much success. The biggest names of the industry were pushing Morphe’s products to their audiences. And it worked, for years, until those the brand collaborated with were “canceled” by their followers, taking the bestseller company to the ground. 

2. Celebrities’ endorsement: Balenciaga’s rise happened as quick as their downfall. We witnessed how the luxury brand was gaining popularity in social media as one of the quickest companies to do so. The once old fashion house became trendy and all the “A-listers” were wearing their clothes. Kim Kardashian, Alexa Demie, Kanye West -just to name a few- were visible faces of the brand. Everyone wanted the Balenciaga bags and shoes their favorite stars were wearing and promoting but soon enough, social media users would turn their backs against the fashion house.

Both of these companies were relying heavily on huge social media personalities to advertise their products. Counting on your online networks to generate reach and get visibility is great as long as you are willing to navigate trends, social issues and mistakes while making it look effortless. If your company becomes trendy, you must keep in mind that if your followers are done with your brand, your brand is done for good. To help you, here’s our survival guide to gain and maintain your reputation online.

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”— Benjamin Franklin

10 ways to survive a social media scandal:

There are several strategies that companies can use to fight negative brand reputation, here are our recommendations:

  1. Address the issue: If a negative event has occurred, such as a product recall or customer complaint, it's important to address it promptly and transparently. Offer a sincere apology and explain the steps being taken to resolve the issue. 
  2. Monitor social media: Keep an eye on social media platforms to identify and respond to any negative comments or reviews about your brand. Investing in a Social Media Monitoring tool is a great way to detect and report unfair treatment of your brand online.
  3. Improve customer service: Make sure that your customer service is responsive, helpful, and professional. This can help mitigate the negative effects of a bad experience.
  4. Promote positive news: Share positive news and updates about your brand to counteract negative information and remind customers of the good things you do.
  5. Seek out third-party validation: Use customer testimonials, industry awards, and positive media coverage to help rebuild your brand's reputation.
  6. Be thoughtful when choosing ambassadors: Counting on content creators to gain more brand awareness is great, it works. But having ambassadors that carry your reputation is dangerous.
  7. Be consistent: Be consistent in the message you are sending and the actions you take. This consistency will help build trust with the public.
  8. Take Responsible actions: Take actions that show that you are responsible, ethical and care about the impact of your actions on the society and environment. Assume your mistakes, take accountability and act on them. 
  9. Everything has to be reviewed: Every-thing. There’s nothing that escapes the consumer’s eye. It might be tedious work to get everything approved, but there always needs to be a clear responsible of how things are done. Especially if you’re going to print thousands of images worth of advertising.
  10. Be a step ahead: Partnering with online brand protection software will help you prevent a catastrophe from happening. It will also allow your company  to be always supported if a scandal arises.

The key is investing in reputation management strategies, such as building strong relationships with the media and actively engaging with customers. It's also important to have a crisis management plan in place to quickly and effectively respond to any negative events that may occur. 

How to protect your brand reputation online

It's important to note that rebuilding a damaged reputation takes time and effort, but by implementing these strategies, a company can begin to repair and improve their visibility. Each brand has a personality, don’t be afraid to let yours shine.

Companies must recognize the value of their reputation and take steps to protect it. At Smart Protection we are committed to safeguard our clients and partners brands. It is our priority to protect the online reputation of those who trust our software. Don’t hesitate to contact us, no matter how big or small your company might be, we have a solution for you.

In conclusion, in today's economy where intangible assets play a major role in a company's market value, the reputation of an organization is more important than ever. It's crucial for companies to recognize this and take steps to protect and enhance their reputations before it’s too late. 

Do you want to know if your brand is at risk online?
Talk to an expert

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