We’ve all gone through a big change at some stage. For better or worse it’s a part of life we can’t control. But as a business, we can control how we prepare for and react to these situations.
For the biggest brands in the world, it seems like damage control is almost a necessary part of operations. From Gillette’s controversial ‘The Best Men Can Be’ campaign last year, to Flybe’s current financial trouble, there seems to be a new scandal every week.
While big change isn’t always negative, it should always come from the horse’s mouth to avoid speculation.
Looking to Her Majesty for Advice
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you’ll have heard that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their departure as senior members of the Royal Family.
As one of the most shocking announcements to come from Buckingham Palace in recent years, it’s understandable that the national and global media have all jumped on the story.
But one thing the Royal Family is good at is controlling when and how you hear about its personal affairs.
View this post on Instagram
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
By creating its own public narrative about events using official channels and timely statements, there is a clear distinction between trusted information and tabloid hearsay.
While the Monarchy may be a centuries-old institution, the Royal Family are living in the modern world by supplementing their traditional official statements with a social media presence. This tactic means they can easily distribute their news and join conversations as they are happening.
But what can you do when you’re not a huge brand with a multi-million-pound budget?
How to Make Sure Your Narrative Comes Out on Top
Step 1: Keep your tone of voice consistent.
While it’s important to adapt your tone of voice to a situation, it doesn’t mean your tone should be completely unrecognisable.
In times of big change, you need to be able to set the record straight without losing the spirit of your brand. This is done by carefully choosing your language and taking the time to consider how it will be received.
Once you’ve mastered the ability to adapt your tone of voice without actually changing it, you are in control of how your audience perceives any news you release – big or small.
Step 2: Get the message out.
Having a regular PR and blog schedule is a great way to ensure your audience has a regular feed of information coming from your business. This promotes trust and gives you a channel to make announcements.
Once you’ve made the announcement on your blog, you can then use social media to get the word out and reach a wider audience.
Social media is also a great tool for making a quick announcement to buy yourself some time if the situation gets out of your control. But quick doesn’t mean impulsive, you still need to think about the content of your message (see Step 1).
A great example of this is the BBC’s response to Sandy Toksvig stepping down as a presenter on the Great British Bake Off.
Step 3: Always expect the unexpected.
Now your announcement is out in the world, it’s time to respond to the fallout.
As humans, we’re driven by our emotions, which are notoriously difficult to predict. This can mean your audience may not react in the way you’d expect.
For this reason, it’s always a good idea to plan for every eventuality during a big announcement. And if your announcement is really big, it could even be worth preparing a set of back-up statements for every possibility to make sure you can react quickly to any response.
Putting it into Practice
We don’t just think this tactic works; we practice what we preach. As well as helping clients manage their announcements, we also implemented a similar strategy of our own during Purpose Media’s rapid expansion in 2015 and 2016.
While we don’t have the clout of the Queen on our side, we can help you develop your tone of voice and create an engaging social media presence, giving you the platform to take control of your next big announcement.
Why not talk to our team today to see how we can help you?