The Importance of Crisis Brand Images for Construction Companies
Most companies understand the importance of building their brand image from a marketing and public relations perspective. Identifying key audiences, the right type of messaging and brand personas should not be new concepts to anyone in business. However, in today’s world filled with constant change, uncertainty and stress, businesses should also evaluate their crisis image immediately, and refresh them frequently as events unfold.
With the current events and civil unrest, brands need to figure out exactly how they want the public to perceive them when an issue arises. Do not wait until a crisis strikes with the force of a wrecking ball. When companies procrastinate on crisis brand image and planning until the time they really need one fast, nobody will be in the right headspace for figuring the details out, increasing the risk for errors that can damage the brand and company reputation.
Construction companies are routinely faced with the possibility of a crisis striking on a day-to-day basis, like safety and danger issues. The current COVID-19 pandemic only adds more stress and potential for issues to arise for construction companies. Here are a few key factors construction brands can brainstorm and implement when creating crisis images, so they are well-prepared now and in the future:
Consider Standards That Are Focused on the World Issues and Happenings
Businesses must stay up to date on current events and happenings. When brands are in the know, they can evaluate these issues and align their crisis images with what is going on. This is a smart business practice, as it will keep brands one step ahead of possible issues that could arise. For example, right now there is the global pandemic to keep in mind. Any kind of business that comes in direct contact with customers must be ready for issues to arise about health and safety.
It’s crucial that construction businesses also consider the health and safety of their workers. Construction brands must clearly communicate the steps and processes being taken during the COVID-19 crisis to protect employees. When businesses have a game plan inspired by current issues, their brand image is going to reflect overall organization, attention to detail and authenticity — these are the companies people can trust.
Revisit Your Core Values
When businesses are figuring out their crisis brand image, it’s important to go back to the core values. Not only will it help executives and staff see the brand more clearly, but it will also help improve the messaging. Consumers easily see through businesses that aren’t genuine, especially in times of crisis. It’s too common for brands to post something inauthentic during a crisis hoping to make it go away (like an insincere apology, for example). Followers and media will quickly pick up on it, which will make the crisis even worse, and will ultimately harm the reputation of the brand.
Many construction companies focus on brand messaging centered on safety, responsibility and integrity. Whatever it may be, it’s important that these types of brands are grounded in core values. Right now, consumers (especially Gen Z) don’t want to be sold products or services. Instead, they prefer messages focused around community, safety, inclusiveness and positivity efforts in their social media feeds and other advertising outlets. Give them what they want and need and build goodwill now, and reap full benefits from the effort later.
Evaluate Exact Tone and Messaging Tactics
Some brands are known for being fun or light-hearted. In a time of crisis and stress, these types of messages can and most often will come off as insensitive or out of touch — the very last thing brands would want to portray during a negative situation. Ultimately, a brand doesn’t need to completely alter its communication methods during a crisis so much that it is unrecognizable. Taking a more serious and sympathetic tone is a step in the right direction. For example, if a crisis arises in regard to construction safety, brands should keep messaging earnest and sincere.
In a time of crisis, brands must move swiftly and connect with their audience in a meaningful way. In the construction industry, businesses can fall back on the human element of storytelling. Just because the world has shifted to social distancing, doesn’t mean construction companies have to halt sharing client testimonials or employees’ experiences.
In summation — it’s smart to brainstorm potential crisis issues and the responses to combat them. For construction brands to be equipped to handle issues the right way, they should seriously consider creating a crisis image (before the crisis strikes!) and plan. This saves time and energy, and in the long run could save a brand’s reputation from potential destruction. When creating specific types of images, consider overall world issues, the core values the company was built on, and the appropriate messaging and tone for social and news media. And if it all seems overwhelming, reach out to a PR professional or agency for help. It’s worth it.
Alexis Krisay is president of marketing and branding expert at Serendipit Consulting.