I went to a very enjoyable breakfast seminar by CharityComms about managing risk and reputation. There were two great speakers with Jill McCall, Senior Brand Manager at Cadbury’s and Adrian Thomas, Head of External Relations from the British Red Cross.
I found it especially interesting as it is increasingly challenging to manage your organisation’s brand within the social media world we are now in. As Adrian said “Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” – That room is online and widely accessible to anyone and everyone who wants to listen or join in!
There was a lot of great content shared by the speakers, but there were a few key summary points I took away and wanted to share are below:
On your brand
Keep your product at the heart of your marketing and brand
It’s important to remember why people buy from you or support you. This can get lost sometimes. The whole horsemeat scandal has happened because the product owners got too far removed from their product
Have clear brand values
What does your organisation or your product stand for?
Build an open & diverse culture
Brand values should not live just on a powerpoint created by marketing team. The values need to go all the way down the chain. Everyone in the organisation, plus volunteers, suppliers and other parties involved all need to live the brand values. It’s important that staff also feel comfortable to highlight risks or issues.
Handling negative issues from via social media
When handling an issue it’s important to follow the 3 key rules: Be 1. Open, 2. Honest, 3. Responsive. With social media and the press it can be easy for something to snowball out of proportion. Therefore when responding it’s important to:
Be responsive not defensive
Use humour if appropriate
Apologise, if you are to blame
Know your audience
All organisations are open to their reputations being challenged, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a charity or a commercial organisation.
There is a storify kindly put together by @LondonKirsty from the seminar for those who’d like to read more from the seminar.
Vicky Reeves is MD of charity sector digital communications agency Chameleon