Damage Control: Three Steps to Reputation Recovery

If you’re watching the news or following current events, you’ll notice a pattern. People are messing up a lot. Companies are experiencing major mishaps, politicians are spouting insensitive remarks, and public figures are stumbling over their own identities.

We are in interesting times. These times often call for quick and expedient damage control.

While many professionals work hard to maintain and reinforce their good reputations, they can do instant damage to their brands with merely one statement or action. Sometimes, all it takes is one slip up to lead you to the kind of crisis situation that puts a dent in your credibility. In this instance, your goal should be to minimize the negative perception caused by the crisis situation whether it happened as result of poor execution or planning, a half-baked judgment call or an unexpected event.

Here are my three keys to damage control for a personal brand facing reputation recovery.

Patience: This is an extremely key factor in your crisis because the public has the ability to negotiate your reputation on their terms. Fight the urge to make hasty decisions or react recklessly. One snap comment, untrue statement, bad move or rash decision can ruin your credibility, upset the media and make your closest supporters resent you. Face your issues in a methodical and graceful manner.

Honesty: Be honest with your PR and legal counsel at all times. They need to know the facts of any situation that could be brand damaging. Remember that most incidents involving the police, courts or emergency medical are public record. That means they can be readily accessed for fact-finding in media reports. If your family would be embarrassed or you’d be ashamed by your words or actions, then it’s probably not a wise move.

Prevention: Prevention is the key to avoiding humiliating disasters. To be prevention-oriented, one must value their character just as much as their talent. Remember, there is no 100% guarantee that a crisis can be prevented. There is constantly disruptive behavior ready to surround and attack you, especially if you are in the public eye.

This is the second post of three in a series about personal branding in a PR crisis. My third post will be about the do’s and don’ts while in a crisis situation. Stay tuned!

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