When it comes to managing your personal brand, preparation is key. Preparation in terms of your personal brand can take all forms, but considering worst-case scenarios should take precedence. While no one enjoys thinking about the “what if’s” of potential negativity and brand failure–bumps in the road are often inevitable.
During this year’s Super Bowl, both the NFL and the city of New Orleans were faced with brand-trauma due to the power outage experienced for 35 minutes of the game. Almost immediately, onlookers took to their social networks to stream their frustration with the circumstances of the blackout. Many quickly began to wonder if the widespread negativity would impact the city’s ability to attract big events in the future.
Staying afloat in the presence of a power outage is important to ensuring the long term success of the personal brand you’ve worked so hard to develop. This is where key planning and preparation come into play.
Identify Your Survival Strategy
As humans, we have a built-in method for survival known as our fight or flight response. Your personal brand needs its own survival strategy for the times when danger is present–but flight should never be your active response. Simply exiting the situation doesn’t solve anything and is likely to create an ever great problem for you to deal with.
A great way to hone in on beneficial survival strategies is by preparing a crisis plan for your personal brand. This involves considering a variety of potential negative occurrences and then focusing on smoothing them over using some of the positive elements and foundational values you’ve built on. For example, you might post a blog or insight on a forum which receives a lot of flack, both in the form of comments and social shares. What survival strategy will you take to handle your image in the face of this backlash, while also ensuring brand consistency?
No personal brand is alike, so there isn’t one set method of survival for a personal brand undergoing this kind of turbulence. But there are a few no-brainers when it comes to the way you handle these situations:
1. Act quickly and directly. Formulating your plan of action, as well as your response, shouldn’t take a week. Quickly and thoughtfully make an attempt to resolve the problem. In relation to the example of a negative response to a blog post, consider writing another blog post directly assessing the situation.
2. Be accountable. Nothing will ruin your personal brand faster than the inability to be accountable for your actions. Silence or blame-placing isn’t a resolution–it’s only the means to a large problem. Own up to any mistakes you’ve made, as well as bringing light to your opinion and deeper understanding to opposing points.
3. Remain honest. This is one value which every personal brand should build their foundation on. Without honesty, you have little to no chance of resurrecting a brand during hard times.
4. Don’t forget consistency. If your direct response isn’t aligned with the values your brand portrays, inconsistency is likely to derail your brand anyhow. Keep your overall messaging consistent with your efforts.
5. Remain sensible. Handling your brand during a power outage can be frustrating. Stay level-headed and aim for a sense of humor in regard to overcoming the situation. Overall sensibility will allow you to keep your cool.
6. Change for the future. Learning from a crisis can cause you to make beneficial changes to your brand for the future. Sometimes a level of re-branding will allow you to be more successful for the long term.
Dealing with adversity when it comes to your personal branding can be a scary task. Identifying your survival strategy will allow you to prepare for the worst. Remember, careful brand monitoring will also ensure success when it comes to handling occurrences in a timely manner.
What have you done to prepare for a possible brand power outage?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.