Maintaining Brand Integrity Through An International Crisis

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Some days it truly seems like the news we read each day has gotten darker. Perhaps there are more terrible things happening in the world, but the media has also been mobilized like never before thanks to social media, making it much more difficult for the public to unplug themselves from current events. This isn’t a bad thing though – we are living at a point in time where we are much more conscious of what is happening in all corners of the globe.

During last week’s unfathomable terrorist attacks in Paris, Beiruit and Baghdad, the internet was a hotbed of social activity and conversation. During this conversation, it was quite apparent to myself how both personal and corporate users easily forget the power of their social influence. I’m sure that I was not alone in witnessing these influencers share content during the height of the crisis that came across as highly insensitive. Sometimes we all need a brief reminder that not everything is about us and that we are a part of a larger global community.

The golden rule of mitigating an international crisis for personal and professional brands is this: during the eye of a crisis, self-indulgent or self-promotional posting should cease as breaking details emerge onto social media. The purpose of this is to show respect for those involved in the situation unfolding. During this time frame, is is a best practice to only share critical information about crisis itself or post messages of support and solidarity for those who have been caught up in the event.

Not even a decade ago, it was still considered slightly taboo for corporate brands to show too much humanity in their marketing efforts. But with the seismic impact of social media, this has all changed. What was once considered overly “touchy-feely” is now appreciated and almost expected by the public. As the global community’s social purpose has been realized, we have become much more closely-knit. Today, business plays a greater role in building a better world and contributing positively to the places in which they work and do business.

An important question to ask yourself when putting together your strategic plan for the coming year is this: How does your business improve the livelihood of your customers and impact the larger global community? Asking yourself this question is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.

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