Whether you’ve made your brand up as you’ve gone along, or whether you’ve invested significant time, thought, and money into a long-term branding strategy, it can hurt when your brand is criticized or sullied. Not only can criticism be personally upsetting, it can also harm your bottom line. What should you do in response? Should you brush off the criticism or take it seriously? Should you stand by your guns or admit you need to make changes?
While your response depends heavily on the circumstances of your brand’s criticism, there are a few general guidelines that you can follow that will always help you respond to branding issues:
- Acknowledge mistakes. Don’t wait for a controversy to blow over or quietly make changes to your brand if it becomes apparent that you have made a mistake or error. Instead, publically apologize and outline how you will prevent such errors from taking place in the future. You don’t have to punish yourself, but you do have to be open and honest about your decisions and actions.
- Stand by your principles. If you have taken a long and honest look at your branding issue and decided that you are in the right, stand by it. In some situations, it may be advantageous to openly state that you are staying the course, while in other situations it may be better to quietly continue on the path you were on.
- Encourage conversation. Perhaps the worst thing you can do when you face criticism is to try to shut down the conversation or cover up the problem. Always welcome advice, feedback, and suggestions from your clients, your customers, and the community. Take their feedback seriously, whether you ultimately agree with their suggestions or not.
- Keep an open mind. It can be very difficult to stay open-minded and unbiased when someone is criticizing something that you have poured time and effort into. However, you have to consider that your critic might have a point and that the point could help you improve your brand and improve your business. Be especially open to criticism if multiple people have brought up the same issue.
- Remain light-hearted. In some cases, any press is good press. If your brand is being parodied, or if your business is simply on the wrong end of a good piece of satire, it may benefit you to laugh along instead of responding with anger, annoyance, or defensiveness.
At Design Missoula, we are here to help you with every challenge you encounter related to your brand strategy. To learn more about how we can make your business better, contact us today.