I came up with the Reputation REDCARDTM acronym as a simple way of explaining some approches to dealing with 'sticky' reputation management issues:
RECEIVE: It's very easy to ignore an issue that may affect you or your organisation until it's too late. This can force the infamous 'coverup.' There's no need to be paranoid; just aware.
EVALUATE: Here's where you acknowledge and assess the potential impact of an issue.
DECIDE: OK, thinking time's over. You're aware of the issue and it's serious. The big question is:
What are you going to do next?
CONFUSE: Produce and make available a huge volume of detailed information about the issue.
ABUSE: Go on the offensive. Shout, scream, threaten.
REFUSE: The 'no comment' strategy. Keep your silence, no matter what they say.
DEFUSE: Neutralize the situation by dealing proactively and reactively with the issue. Present a plan of action, backed up by a personal commitment.
Inevitably, there are pros and cons to each method. Each should be judged on its own merits, as reputation management can be a tricky and troublesome business.
My personal recommendation is to 'defuse'. There are precious few places to hide in the age of the internet.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, choose wisely!
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.