Managing Your Brand And Corporate Reputation During Hard Times


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Managing Your Brand And Corporate Reputation During Hard Times

  1. 1. MANAGING YOUR BRAND AND CORPORATE REPUTATION DURING HARD TIMES Hill & Knowlton China Recession Communications Offering
  2. 2. 2008 CRASH The current 2008 global financial crisis has hit with speed and severity. This situation is made all the more challenging because its impact is global and falls directly on the consumer. China may be on stronger footing than most countries, but it’s by no means immune. During this downturn, many companies will suffer, but those brands who keep talking will suffer less than those who remain silent. While budget cuts may be inevitable, they are definitely not the only way to save your business. Things we have learned from previous periods of uncertainty While budget cuts may be inevitable, they are definitely not the only way to save your business.
  3. 3. THE CENTRAL QUESTION “So, what role do communications play in managing a brand/company during a recession?” Things we have learned from previous periods of uncertainty Everyone recognizes that now is a time to look at the bottom line, but we also believe that this is a time to re-look at your marketing mix. Even if it means you need to spend, then spend more efficiently.
  4. 4. SOME KEY POINTS Communication is an active process. Communication is focused, tactical and strategic risk-taking. And it’s also measured. Communication is about building brands, growing shares and sustaining a leadership position in any economic cycle. The following considerations are all important factors when developing communications to guide your brand/company through the recession and beyond. Standing still is not an option .
  5. 5. POINT ASSESS YOUR THREATS ONE AND STRENGTHS Economic downturns present the unique opportunity to step back and reassess your company in a new light. By focusing on your primary objectives and not clouding the issues, you will be in a better position to quickly and effectively respond to new developments. Know what you’re up against by running a risk audit Can you develop a plan that analyzes the risks that your company faces and create potential issue scenarios? Can you regularly monitor the media to know what the public thinks? Can you hold internal brand communication workshops to reassess your strategy and determine if changes are needed?
  6. 6. POINT KEEP TALKING TWO In any relationship, if one party stops the dialogue, the other moves on. In a recession, people do not stop buying; they just buy carefully, in a more deliberate and well-informed manner. What if they hear nothing from you? Take advantage of the general decrease in marketing investment to better guide the dialogue and stand above the rest. Don’t stop communicating, proactively reach out to the media Can you maintain relationships by managing expectations and not making too many promises? Can you communicate regularly with the media to keep reinforcing your message while being honest, confident and direct? Can you let your customers know what challenges you face and how they will be overcome?
  7. 7. POINT LEADERS MUST BE THREE FRONT AND CENTER No one wants to see a leader back down in a time of crisis – and this is especially true at the top level. Leaders who are visible and available for face-to-face discussions provide reassurance and send out a strong signal of confidence. Displaying leadership at all levels can also demonstrate organizational focus, providing an early feedback mechanism that can quash rumors before they take hold. Profiling and positioning your CEO as an industry thought leader In times when leadership is less visible, are you prepared to step up and take a commanding role in your industry? Can you distinguish yourself enough from others to put your company on a solid footing for the post-recession future?
  8. 8. POINT FOCUS ON YOUR FOUR STAFF The impact on your staff will be larger than you might think. Staff members are the first to worry their companies’ fate during a recession. Your people are the most valuable asset in surviving a recession. Companies do not innovate, people do. Companies do not create a brand experience, people do. Companies may survive recession, but only because its people made the right decisions. Use internal communications to keep employees informed, motivated and focused Can you communicate with your staff about the current situation to restore confidence? Can you effectively use internal communications to keep your staff informed, motivated and working together in a way that will impress customers?
  9. 9. POINT FOCUS ON THE FIVE INFLUENCERS The smartest and most cost-efficient way to spend your money in communication is to leverage the key influencers. If companies want the most mileage out of their communications during this challenging time, new technologies and channels are the best way to identify and engage small groups with far-reaching influences. By winning over key influencers, companies can reach whole communities at a relatively low expense. In the digital age, one customer can quickly become a billion. Embracing new technologies to engage communities Can you map out your key stakeholders? Who are the opinion leaders in your industry and which can best help you meet your objectives? Can you use new technologies (online media and social networking tools) to engage them?
  10. 10. POINT MAKE CREATIVITY A SIX TOP PRIORITY We believe that creative execution is one of the biggest determining factors in the success of a campaign. We also know that most of the best marketing campaigns that have yielded the best results were created in response to difficult times and/or a tough economic climate. More difficult economic conditions must be met with increased creativity. Remember that the idea behind the campaign is more important than the allocated budget. Those companies unafraid to innovate will be the market leaders after the downturn. Make creativity a top priority in your communications and business at large
  11. 11. RECESSION COMMUNICATIONS OFFERING You cannot control the economy, but you can be prepared to handle it. We can help you build a solid foundation through the use of issues management and crisis communications plans. Every company and industry is unique. However, there are some guidelines in a recession which are essential considerations for the management of any brand:
  12. 12. OFFER MAPPING OUT KEY INFLUENCERS TO ONE PRIORITIZE THEIR IMPORTANCE OUR OFFER : DEVELOPING AN INFLUENCER NETWORK ANALYSIS RATIONALE • By identifying key opinion leaders that share your priorities, you can develop strategic and tactical moves to begin a dialogue with and influence them. OBJECTIVES • Identify key opinions leaders, primary and secondary influencers of public opinion, and the issues that generate the most traction with specific media outlets and reporters. An successful network analysis can help to discover the people who drive coverage • Develop key influencer and opinion leader programs, and spokesperson initiatives.
  13. 13. OFFER BETTER ASSESSING THE RISKS AHEAD TWO AND DEVELOPING RESPONSES OUR OFFER : CONDUCTING AN ISSUE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP OBJECTIVE • Identify the major issues and challenges that may be faced in the months ahead and develop solutions to address and overcome those challenges. PROCESS • Gather input from the crisis communications team in a formal half-day workshop. This session will explain in depth the vital role the crisis communication team plays in real-world scenarios. • Map out key stakeholders according to their importance and positions on various issues. Issues will then be discussed, and ideas for strategies and tactics will be brainstormed in break-out sessions. • The team will then draft guidelines for appropriate responses, creating templates which will be included in the draft of the crisis communications plan.
  14. 14. OFFER PROTECTING YOUR CORPORATE THREE REPUTATION AND BRAND OUR OFFER : DEVELOPING A CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLAN RATIONALE • A crisis communication plan is an essential part of being prepared to manage an issue or a crisis during uncertain times. OBJECTIVES • Assign roles and responsibilities to crisis communications team members along with guidelines and a response structure. • Develop contact sheets for the crisis communications team, media and stakeholders as well as holding statement templates and potential questions and answers to address various scenarios. • Collate all applicable guidelines and procedures into a formal document and develop checklists for easy reference. • Create a simulated crisis situation involving various stakeholders to test the effectiveness of the crisis communications team and your crisis communications plan. • Review and revise the plan according to the results of the simulation.
  15. 15. OFFER PROTECTING YOUR CORPORATE THREE REPUTATION AND BRAND (Cont’d) OUR OFFER : DEVELOPING A CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLAN PROCESS • Phase One: Issue management workshop (Step 2) • Phase Two: Crisis communications plan development Using the information, messages and responses identified in the issues management workshop, we will develop a formal plan for your company. This plan will include message structures, press-release templates and identify stakeholders for the most threatening scenarios. • Phase Three: Desk-top simulation A desk-top crisis simulation exercise, developed by Hill & Knowlton, will give team members first-hand training in implementing the plan and testing its effectiveness. Necessary changes will be identified and a debriefing session after the simulation will allow team members to freely voice any concerns, so that they may be considered and integrated into the plan if necessary.
  16. 16. OFFER RAZOR-SHARPENING YOUR FOUR MESSAGES OUR OFFER : RUNNING A KEY MESSAGE WORKSHOP RATIONALE • In a recession, your stakeholders will be reading a lot, often too much, into every word and deed. Messaging must be crystal clear so you can maintain control over your master narrative. OBJECTIVE • Uncover and develop powerful messages that can explain what your company stands for in compelling language and effectively connect with your stakeholders. PROCESS • Gather input from the entire team in a formal half-day workshop environment. Sharpened key messages in response to the downturn will be brainstormed during the session. • The words and phrases you will use in media releases, interviews and other materials will be based on your new key messages.
  17. 17. OFFER EMPOWERING YOUR SPOKESPERSON FIVE OUR OFFER : RUNNING A CRISIS AND SPOKESPERSON TRAINING OBJECTIVE • To empower your key spokesperson to properly handle the news media and other important stakeholders during hostile interview situations and challenging times. • Using an issue-based crisis scenario to provide a context for media handling techniques as well as creating the attitudinal shift required to develop more effective spokespeople. PROCESS • Participants are trained in specific, proven techniques for high- pressure media handling. • We will work with your communications team to identify key threats/issues to develop a scenario based upon real issues. The scenario will be used at the training to serve as a context for learning the techniques.
  19. 19. H&K CHINA PROFILE FIRST PR AGENCY to establish a presence in China in 1984 with the opening of our Beijing office 3 OFFICES : SHANGHAI, BEIJING, GUANGZHOU We have also established a physical presence in Chengdu, Shenyang, Jinan, Nanjing, and Wuhan OVER 200 bi-lingual consultants CO-FOUNDER OF THE MARKETING GROUP OF CHINA The Marketing Group of China is a non-profit, invitation-only club created especially for top marketing executives from major Chinese companies and multinationals operating in China COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANCY FOR BEIJING 2008 A global network of consultants has provided strategic communications counsel and media relations support for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
  20. 20. WE ARE THE COMPANY THAT … Helped promote a positive image of Beijing 2008 Helped clients from different sectors prepare for, manage and recover a wide variety of crises from plant explosions to product recalls and corporate restructuring. Provided expert professional media and spokesperson training to 84 senior Chinese officials from China's State Council Information Office. Provided crisis and issue management training to more than 20 companies over the past two years
  22. 22. CO-FOUNDER OF THE MGOC The Marketing Group of China is a non-profit, invitation-only club created especially for top marketing executives from major Chinese companies and multinationals operating in China. It provides a unique platform for the industry’s best marketers to share ideas, concerns and best practice via face-to-face and online meetings The Marketing Group of China is founded by Hill & Knowlton and The Kantar Group in 2008
  23. 23. OUR GLOBAL OUTREACH USA Europe, Middle East, Africa Canada Latin America Asia Pacific Austin Amsterdam London Calgary Buenos Aires Bangkok Boston Athens Manama Montreal Guatemala City Beijing Chicago Barcelona Madrid Ottawa Mexico City Dallas Berlin Milan Quebec City San Juan Guangzhou Houston Brussels Moscow Toronto Santiago Hong Kong Irvine Budapest Munich Vancouver Sao Paulo Kuala Lumpur Los Angeles Cairo Oslo Montevideo Seoul Miami Copenhagen Paris Shanghai New York Doha Prague Portland Dubai Riga Singapore San Francisco Dublin Riyadh Sydney Seattle Frankfurt Rome Tokyo Spokane Helsinki Stockholm Tallahassee Jeddah Tallinn Tampa Kuwait City Warsaw Washington DC Lisbon Work for over 180 Established in 1927 73 offices in Over 30 Over 2,000 companies of the as the first PR 41 countries affiliate offices people Fortune 500 agency
  24. 24. OUR COMMITMENT 1 MEASURABLE brand and business outcomes 2 POWERFUL IDEAS that deliver TANGIBLE IMPACTS 3 Campaigns that INSPIRE and SHAPE BEHAVIOUR THE BEST TEAM for every client assignment at all times 5 A COLLABORATIVE approach which DELIVERS your business and communications objectives
  25. 25. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT MARC-OLIVIER ARNOLD Campaign Strategist Hill & Knowlton Shanghai Hill & Knowlton Shanghai 989 Changle Road 28 F, The Center Shanghai 200031 P.R.C. T: +86 21 5109 7070