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Brand Resilience: managing risk and recovery in a high speed world #IABC12

By Kate O'Donnell (@kateodonnell_)

I started off my first IABC world conference with a session on brand resilience run by Jonathan Copulsky of Deloitte Consulting LLP and author of the above named book. Jonathan gave examples of real life case studies to demonstrate the affect of crisis on brand, many of which are infamous in communications circles (the Dominos pizza incident, BP oil spill and Johnson and Johnson Tylenol recall).

Jonathan referenced the Edelman Trust Barometer, reminding us that times have changed and  CEOs are no longer at the top of the list of trusted sources for information. Instead, people trust other people in this order:

  1. Academics
  2. Technical advisors
  3. People like 'me' – or, each other
  4. Employees

And CEO's sit at the bottom of this list…

So, what do you do when you live in a world where your brand can be quickly attacked? Referencing the US Army Marine Corps, Counterinsurgency Field Manual, Jonathan talked us through the following points for consideration:

  • At first you might realise your brand is not under attack
  • Conventional responses may be misguided. Sometimes the more you protect your brand the less secure it might be.
  • When it comes to building a resilient brand, the winner is the one who learns and adapts quickly.
  • 10 years ago, Facebook didn't exists. In 10 years time we will be having a different conversation to the one we're having now.
  • If a tactic is effective in this market, it might not work in the next. Effective leaders avoid complacency.
  • The most effective weapons are not necessarily those aimed directly at the brand saboteurs.

Summarising from his book, Jonathan then gave us the 7 steps for managing brand risk and recovery (for more detail on these points and more visit Jonahthan's website- www.brandressiliance.com)

  1.  Assess potential internal and external threats faced by your brand.
  2. Make sure your employees and executives are actively engaged in detecting, preventing, and mitigating brand risks.
  3. Build capabilities and systems to detect potential assaults on your brand before they cripple your brands.
  4. Build the capabilities to defend yourself against the attacks that make it past your defenses. PUT A PLAN IN PLACE AND REHEARSE IT.
  5. Systematically analyse each incident to embed lessons learned into your behavior
  6. Manage brand risks as part of your overall risk management programs – measure!
  7. Broaden your internal and external bases of support to help you respond to future attacks.

At the end of the session, the key takeaways were:

  1. There are a lot of people out there who are going to sabotage your brand – be prepared.
  2. If you wait until that happens, it's too late.
  3. It all starts from within – equip your employees with the right messages and tools to defend your brand.

Stay tuned for more blog posts from Victorian members at the World Conference in Chicago coming soon!

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