Standing Your Ground as a Brand
Standing your ground as a brand can be difficult when it comes to inclusiveness and diversity. I talked a little about this topic here when Honey Maid dealt with a backlash, as did other American legacy brands Cheerios and Chevrolet, regarding ad campaigns showing the diversity of American families. There was a media firestorm against these brands, which came from vocal factions on social media.
Girl Scouts is another iconic brand, which is constantly is managing the expectations of very different stakeholders and some very vocal subgroups within. And before I continue writing… full disclosure here I was a paid professional staff for a local Girl Scout Council for more than a decade and a proud lifelong Girl Scout. So let’s just say I can speak from experience about the challenges working for an iconic brand. Girl Scouts takes standing your ground as a brand to higher level; they are willing to return donations that do not fit with their mission. Girl Scouts has worked very hard to be an inclusive organization even when America wasn’t of many groups.
Girl Scouts has been under fire from numerous groups for decades; because of their stand on inclusiveness of all girls into the Girl Scout movement. The most recent situation is around Girl Scouts being open to trans girls. Girl Scouts continue to focus on their mission which is: Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
How can brands stand their ground?
It is difficult for brands to stand their ground. You don’t want to offend anyone. You don’t want to lose x, y, or z. Brands are afraid.
Is it OK for brands to jump on the cause du jour? Only if it is meaningful to them and their customers. Customers evolve and so should brands. And sometimes brands need to evolve first then lead the way to change.
Mission Statement. Every organization should have a mission statement that can guide them. Know what you stand for. And don’t be afraid about communicating it with the public. It isn’t just an internal document. Review your mission statement regularly.
Listen. Listening to the conversations about your brand and the topic or cause are important. You should be monitoring what is being said online and else where. You should be listening and understanding your customers.
Communicating. It is up to your organization if you want to entertain a response when outrage occurs. It is always good to have a response outlining your organization’s values and be part of the conversation. Stick to your brand’s values.
You can’t be liked all of the time and by everyone. It is OK to stand your ground as a brand.
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