One of the most important reasons to build your brand from the beginning (or as soon as you can) is that we all make mistakes. It is not a question of if, but of when. Hopefully the mistakes we make are small and relatively easy to recover from, however sometimes they are bigger than we like. In these cases, remember this critical steps on how to help your personal brand survive a crisis.
1. Build Your Brand Before You Need It
Every interaction builds your personal brand and establishes your reputation. When you decide to be late to a meeting or that moment where you send a thank you card to your customer – these decisions all add up. Every interaction adds or takes away from your brand. Define how you want to be perceived and then walk your talk.
Your brand is never just about you. You are an important part of it – but perception is reality. So think about how your presentation, your tweet, your email, will shape others perceptions of you. Use empathy and put yourself in their shoes to think about how you may be showing up to them. Be intentional about your actions and your audience will likely love you more for it.
3. Mistakes Happen, Recovery is Everything
If you act without thinking and then realize you made a mistake, reach out and apologize. Own your mistake, don’t just sweep it under the rug or ignore it. Rip that band-aid off and deal with it. Think about your audience and what a meaningful recovery looks like to them. If you send a bad tweet, think about the best way to recover, a tweet may not be the answer.
4. Develop a Plan (Get Help if Needed) and Respond
Sometimes we cannot step out of the situation and really think about the best way to respond because we are too close to the issue. Reach out and ask for help as you develop your response plan. Once you develop a plan, put a person (yourself or a team) in charge of executing the plan and continuing to listen in case adjustments need to be made.
5. Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open – Listen
Set those Google alerts and use social media tools like Hootsuite to listen to conversations. Understand when a crisis is beginning to mount and develop a plan to respond quickly. When conversations are going well, be engaged too – not just when there is an issue.
6. To Engage or Not to Engage
You may need to take a small breather from your audience and then re-engage when they are ready to listen. It depends on how large the mistake is, and what the appropriate response is. At a minimum show that you have learned from your mistakes and test the waters as you re-engage. You may decide to continue to blog, but not tweet as often, for example.
7. Keep Building Your Brand & Stay Relevant
Get back to the roots of your personal brand and what is unique about you. Begin to re-engage in appropriate ways and stay relevant. You may decide to take the mistake and turn it into a learning opportunity, if appropriate. Either way, be authentic and think about your audience and what they are interested in you talking about at that moment. Continue to build your brand in positive ways in each interaction and rebuild your reputation.
Be your best self,