When you realize you’ve made a mistake, make amends immediately. It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm. ~Dan Heist
If you, or someone in your company has made private or public decisions that could negatively impact customers’ opinions of your company, you’ve got an image problem. People like Steve Jobs of Apple, John Schnatter of Papa John’s Pizza and other public faces of their companies are acutely aware that their behavior affects their bottom line. If you depend on a sports or entertainment figure’s endorsements to enhance your brand, understand that their failings could be your failings too.
Make no mistake – No matter how it happened or who it happened to, it’s YOUR image problem; you WILL become accountable in one way or another. Here are some thoughts on minimizing the problem:
• Move swiftly. These sorts of things don’t go away on their own. Even acknowledging the issues before you actually address it reassures the public, your customers and shareholders that steps are being made behind the scenes.
• Bring in an outside consultant who can objectively help gauge the corporate climate, make appropriate recommendations and can, going forward, gently guide the company to ensure an atmosphere for success.
• Make a public announcement, (through your PR firm, attorney, or corporate representative) to address the issue. Use humor only if appropriate, gain trust through your honesty and clarity; and when/where appropriate, state your position and make your points as briefly as possible.
• Move on. Once you’ve made public and private adjustments and acknowledgements, do not dwell on the past. Refer forensic reporters to your announcements, statements and position papers and move on.
So, have you considered how YOU would handle your company’s image problem?
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