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Managing your brand in times of adversity

Lesson Nine:

Managing your brand in times of adversity

Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.
Jeff Bezos



Your brand will face a crisis, no matter how prepared or well organized you are. When a crisis comes, you need to know how to handle the situation. Keep your head in a crisis and respond carefully. Acting precipitously will only damage your reputation and your brand. By addressing the problem head on, you will be able to mitigate the damage to your brand.   

In a Difficult Situation

There may come a time when you find yourself in a bad spot. For example, you could upload mistaken information in your area of expertise. You could also act against your own advice. Regardless of what you do to damage your reputation, never avoid facing your mistakes. You must take control of the situation and the message using specific steps:


  • Act quickly and apologize
  • Explain your error in judgment
  • Learn from your mistakes

It is essential that you do not allow your mistakes to define you. Once you address the problem, you need to move on and continue expanding your brand.

Never Shut-off

In difficult situations, you may be tempted to burn bridges, but you should NEVER burn a bridge. Burning bridges is breaking ties with difficult people, be they at work or in your social network. When you burn a bridge, you walk away from someone with no hope of salvaging the relationship. Burning bridges at work can negatively affect your employment record. Burning bridges within your social group can do more than cost friends; it can create enemies. 


Burning Bridge Alternatives:

  • Wait to communicate until your anger has passed.
  • Thank the person for his or her feedback.
  • Consider your fault in the situation.
  • Take space in the relationship without braking ties.


Problems in personal branding often stem from problems in communication. Miscommunication and misinformation happen regularly, and they can destroy your personal brand. It is essential that you address communication errors immediately and squelch rumors before they spread. Once a negative rumor spreads, it is difficult to stop the gossip train. This is why you need to monitor your online presence carefully.


Examples of misinformation:

  • Business rumors
  • Misquotations
  • False claims
  • Incorrect statistics

The best way to handle this situation is with the truth. Address the source of the misinformation directly, and be sure to spread the truth throughout all of your public platforms.

Observe and Respond

You must carefully monitor every crisis situation because time is of the essence. Gather all information about your brand, as it appears online. Google alerts and other tools are useful for this task. You need to be aware of the situation in order to respond appropriately. When you find errors being reported, you need to respond immediately.


Your response will depend on the message that you found. For example, you may need to clarify the information to someone who posted about your brand. You could also need to confront someone with truth when everything said is false. It is important that you do not attack people in your responses. Your goal is to present the truth, not go on a personal crusade. 

Practical Application

Beth was stunned when a colleague told her that the information on her blog was inaccurate. The post had been one of her most popular. She looked at the post carefully and realized that the error was minor. She did not think that it really conflicted with the message she was trying to portray. Beth decided to leave the post alone. The next day, her mistake had been pointed out in the comments section. She decided to ignore the problem and hope for the best.