Five ways to ensure your brand is ready for a crisis

Now more than ever, brands understand the importance of being ready for unforeseeable circumstances.

Here are five ways to ensure you are effectively able to troubleshoot when a crisis comes knocking:

1. Plan the basics

It’s just so important to be sure you can do all the basics even if a crisis hits. This can mean imagining the likely scenarios and your likely responses to them. Just going through the exercises can help you prepare for the unforeseeable. If the basics are in place and an issue arrives, you will have the bandwidth to be creative and seize the opportunities that accompany it.    

My local council has thought through what they should do if there is a 1 in 100 year flood, or a train derailment, or a major accident.  No one wants to use the plan, but it is there just in case. 

2. Be ready to make decisions

In the quiet times, plan how you will make brand decisions when opportunity knocks or a crisis hits. Have streamlined decision-making processes in place and ready to go. Too many opportunities are missed because businesses struggle to make decisions in the heat of the moment.

I remember Unilever having the speed of decision-making to offer to wash Terry Butcher’s England shirt the day after he had his unfortunately bloody injury during a game against Sweden in 1989. The deal was done, the shirt washed and the Radion washing powder ad was in the papers within 36 hours of him coming off the pitch

3. Balance opportunity and risk

It’s all too easy to do nothing and to explain away inaction as an effort to be ‘cautious’. No one has ever had the sack for being careful. Legal advisers and others are paid to tell you the down-sides. But while many big sports brands were dithering, Joe Wicks was helping the nation every morning at 9.00 am. A great example of taking an opportunity despite the risk, resulting in an initiative that will not be forgotten.

4. Encourage ideas

At a time of crisis you need ideas and suggestions. Much of leadership comes from the top down, but the leader’s decision making is always strengthened by the quality of the ideas at their disposal. Make sure your team know that you will welcome their ideas and be ready to consider them.  

5. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman 

Many cannot wait to read the book about how New Zealand and their leader Jacinda Ardern managed the Covid-19 crisis so well. She seemed at once to be clever, insightful, human, optimistic and determined. She was quick to act, decisive with her actions and displayed compassion, as shown through her address to the country’s children at Easter.

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