Dealing with a hostile brand environment

Michelle Du-Prât discusses brand risk and reputation for Raconteur's latest report.

Michelle Du-Prât, Exec Strategy Director and co-founder spoke with Raconteur about brand reputation and risk in today’s hostile environment. ‘Gone are the days when brands could pull the wool over customers’ eyes. Customers are more questioning, demanding and proactive than at any point in time. An innocent mistake can escalate to a brand-breaking headline within hours.’ On top of this is the fact that brands are under increased pressure to be available 24/7 and to react instantly, creating a potentially dangerous combination when it comes to crisis management.

‘Today’s online and offline landscape requires a 360-degree approach to risk and crisis management, from digital through to physical brand presence. It doesn’t help that social media can make or break a brand instantly. A Twitter mob can bring a brand down based on flimsy claims taken out of context, while a Twitter craze creates a viral sensation.’ To avoid landing in hot water and to navigate this hostile brand environment efficiently, brands need to ensure straightforward messaging is authentic, consistent, transparent and accurate. Nothing will lose trust like a false attempt to be trustworthy. Trust is easily broken, and customers are easily alienated. Tone of voice and messaging has to be consistent across all touchpoints to create human conversations with customers that they can trust.

Brands that have concrete values and make bold moves to support causes that align to their brand purpose have cracked the formula. 63 percent of people globally prefer brands whose values reflect their own (Accenture, 2018). When done right, brand activism can forge deeper connections, build advocacy and inspire loyalty, provided of course that the chosen social issue aligns with the brand.

Read the report in full here.

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