When is a corporate crisis over?
When the media stops calling? When the angry emails, tweets and phone calls trail off? When the legal ramifications are settled? When your crisis management team vacates the war room?
From a reputation management perspective, a crisis is only truly over when the negative impact to corporate reputation is mitigated. Think about it — when you hear Carnival Cruise Lines or Komen, do you think about your summer vacation and breast cancer awareness?
Or, do you think about the Carnival’s overturned cruise ship and Komen’s defunding of Planned Parenthood?
- Carnival Cruise was ranked the number two overall cruise line in 2011, but doesn’t rank in 2012.
- Susan G. Komen for the Cure was ranked number two overall in 2011, among the top five nonprofits in any category. In 2012, when the categories were split up, Komen ranks 56th of the 79 surveyed. According to Harris Interactive, this is a 21 percent drop in brand equity.
It’s not an earth-shattering revelation that a crisis can have a long-term impact on corporate reputation. But this data showcases the extent to which a crisis can damage an organization’s standing among competitors.
When a consumer is booking a cruise or deciding which organization to support, reputation matters. Think of a crisis situation as a reputational disease. Treating only the symptoms of the crisis (media calls, legal ramifications, etc.) isn’t a cure.
Long-term, holistic corporate reputation management means rebuilding trust with your customers, donors, employees and other stakeholders. It means looking at why the crisis happened and how it can be prevented in the future. It means that the company continues to ask itself the hard questions – even after the media stops. The news cycle may shift quickly — but consumers have a longer memory.
At Standing Partnership, our approach to corporate reputation management consists of helping our clients build, maintain and restore their reputations. Learn more about our approach to issues and crisis management.