Something bad happened… Whatever it was – lying about product features, a product recall because of health concerns, an executive or employee said something they shouldn’t have – you need to find a way to deal with it. Public perception can make or break the outcome of the situation.
One way to help you reshape your public image is to partner with an organization, individual, or company that publicly upholds the core values behind what is good about your brand. You need to demonstrate to consumers that you care about social issues beyond your profit margins.
It’s about changing the narrative by doing things right after things went wrong and slowly gaining back the trust that you lost.
More and more, consumers are relying on how a brand makes them feel to make their final purchase decisions. In fact, 55% of consumers would even pay more for products from socially responsible companies. The reality is, if you aren’t doing something good for the community or something that is socially responsible, you will be seen as selfish and it will be harder to make a lasting connection with your target audience.
If you are looking at partnering with an organization, individual, or company to help save your public image, there are a few things to consider.
The first thing you need to do is be authentic. You have to genuinely want to make a change within your business. Your audience will be able to see right through an insincere, legal statement or any strategic attempt to fix the business that isn’t genuine. You need to re-connect with and identify the values at the core of your business and focus on bringing those to public eye rather than focusing on the misstep you took.
The reality is, you may have done something wrong, but unless you are willing to change for the better, you are better off walking away.
Find the right fit
Once you have identified your core values, find an organization that shares the same values you hold in high esteem. Make it a team exercise to come up with organizations that would be a good fit with your business. Involving your employees allows them to feel more connected to the new initiative as well. This will boost morale within your team, which can boost productivity and a general sense of pride in what the company stands for. The best ambassador for your business can be an employee.
A note of caution that working with the wrong organization can backfire tremendously. Shell was partnered with LEGO until Greenpeace got a hold of it. Shell was trying to clean up its image, but it wasn’t walking the walk and was exposed for the negative state of its operations in the arctic.
Build a strategy together
The best way to ensure a successful partnership strategy is to work with your chosen partner to develop and execute it. You have to look at the overall business/organizational objectives for each party and ensure that the selected tactics benefit both parties. Working together can also allow for a better partnership rather than one party dictating the entirety of the strategy.