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Manage Your Online Brand by Preparing For Brand Crisis BEFORE It Happens

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When the success of your business depends on your brand reputation it's important to not only manage your brand but to have a plan in place should crisis strike. Simply planning on handling the situation in the event of a crisis is not enough. Quality brand management should always include a "what if" plan.

There are several key components to effective brand management during a time of crisis.

1. Speak Quickly - Communication is key to successful customer relations. In the event that negative things are being said about your brand don't ignore them. Even if you don't have an immediate answer to the problem at hand let your consumers know you're working on a solution and that you'll get back to them. Remaining silent on the issue is likely to fuel the problem.

2. Remain Consistent - Anytime you speak to consumers you should maintain the same tone. Times of crisis are no different. And it is important to maintain this method of communication during all conversations and statements surrounding the situation.

3. Designate Your "Crisis Team" - A part of your crisis management will be determining who will take the issue and handle it on behalf of your company. For some this will be their public relations department or outside firm. If you are not large enough to have such services you need to designate a employee or group of employees who will manage the situation. This team may include loyal customers who you ask to speak out on behalf of the brand of your company. Validation from fellow consumers can go a long way for restoring the impression of your brand.

4. Make Sure To Include All Employees In The Plan - Keeping some of your staff in the dark about what is happening with the business is never a good idea. Personal social media profiles are everywhere and you need to make sure you're employees are not sharing things they should not. The wrong social media post by an employee can make things much worse.

5. Monitor - Before, During & After - Use a tool to monitor all social media mentions of your brand.  Google & Yahoo both have a social monitoring tools. These tools keep you clued into everything that is being said about your brand through social media. Staying informed at all times will help you better manage your brand.

It is always the goal that your crisis plan will never take action but it is always wise to prepare your self in the event it does.

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