After a fatal accident, you might be quick to react and act on the defensive, thinking it will save your company’s image. However, this is sure to make things worse. Read on for six marketing tactics that might help after a fatal accident…
Fatal accidents are not an ideal situation for any company. However, the fatal accidents act 1976 sets out that the dependents of the deceased can claim compensation if the death occurred as a result of negligence.
First and foremost, it is important to show empathy for the victims rather than getting defensive, being in denial, or hiding facts about the incident. Remember to be quick and confident about the situation, but ensure you take an adequate amount of responsibility and not mislead your customers. This is the best way to ensure your company has a chance of recovering after a fatal accident.
Recovery might not always be possible, and it is essential to discuss any incidences with your legal representatives. However, having the best marketers on board to steer your company in the right direction can help. This article explores six marketing tactics to boost your reputation after an accident of this sort.
1. Don’t be too emotional
The empathy of the victims is key, but ensure you are separating emotion from the necessary work in play. Crises like this can be a personal ordeal for the owners, directors, and founders of the company, but what the victims’ families will be going through is worse.
It is essential not to take an emotional stance in any marketing-related materials that could land you in more hot water. It is also important to remember the effects a fatal accident can have on staff morale. Finding out your responsibilities as an employer after an accident at work can be a good start.
Top tip: Make sure that your internal and external marketing isn’t all about protecting the company’s reputation. Ensure that your customers and staff are at the center of your campaigns.
2. Plan your media strategy
Although the case might be time-sensitive, it’s better to spend a few hours reviewing the content going out rather than posting the first comments that come to mind. Make sure you choose the right person to make the initial statements to.
Leveraging media is not always the best way to protect your reputation. Sometimes pulling away from the public view while taking the necessary time and steps is key.
Top tip: All media should focus on accepting responsibility for the incident and how you will ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
3. Pick your social media battles
Over 4.62 billion people use social media daily. So, you can be sure that news of your accident will end up online at some point. But, the volatile nature of the online community means that replying to comments with a defensive reply from upset or angry customers is never going to end up well.
We’d recommend monitoring social media comments and coming up with content that answers commonly asked questions or anger from these sections. By getting involved in social media arguments, you will be damaging your reputation more. Instead, use social media as a feedback tool, a perception meter, and a way to share the reality of what’s being done to make things right.
Remember, it’s not always the crime that ruins a brand; it’s the cover-up. Look at the Watergate scandal with Oxfam, where sexual misconduct came to light. At first, Oxfam acted defensively, which didn’t sit well with consumers. They then went on to push all of the blame onto one of the members of their senior management team. Unfortunately, this also didn’t solve the reputation problems.
Top tip: Make sure you calmly collect the facts and responses from social media and create a plan that acknowledges these with honesty and integrity.
4. Act swiftly
You shouldn’t charge forward with a response before you’ve considered all of the facts and the response you want to get across. But, don’t sit on this information in silence for too long. Speculation will form quickly, so you need your team to be on it.
Top tip: Make sure you have a plan in place 24-48 hours after the incident and convey how you will stop this from happening in the future.
5. Maintain transparency
This involves revising your content, removing content, and suppressing damaging content. For example, in the case of Alton Towers, removing any content about the Smiler ride would’ve been vital.
Top tip: Instead, share information about what your company is doing to ensure these mistakes never happen again.
6. Reinstate trust through empathy
Empathy should be the key to your marketing strategy. Remember, you deal with real people who have real emotions, concerns, and consequences after a fatal accident. This is your chance to show your audience that there are also real people with real feelings behind the company. This will help you reinstate trust, key to a good brand reputation and image.
Top tip: Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about how you would want to be treated if this happened to your family member.
Can my company recover after a fatal accident?
Look at Alton Towers and Volkswagen; a fatal catastrophe doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all. If you show your audience how you will rectify these issues to ensure they don’t happen again, your company can still recover.
Remember your why, and this will help increase the chances that your business succeeds. Ask yourself what you stand for, what are you trying to achieve, and how can you rectify your past mistakes to improve your business?
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained marketing professional. Be sure to consult a marketing professional or solicitor if you seek advice about your company’s reputation after a fatal accident. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.