Karen Post is the author of Brand Turnaround, a popular book about brands that have gone bad but have made a resurgence and returned to glory. In the book she provides case studies on such brands as Ford, JetBlue, the Red Cross, Xerox, Dominos, Robert Downey, Jr, Michael Vick and Martha Stewart.
Every brand faces a crisis during its lifetime. Usually several. Practically every brand has some tough times. This is certainly true of healthcare brands too. Sometimes factors totally out of our control cause it. And sometimes it just lack of leadership or vision. But it happens.
Drawing upon lessons learned from the over 75 brands she’s studied, Post offers seven “Game Changers” which she has found to be important to resurrecting a tarnished brand.
1. Take responsibility
When things go badly for a brand, denial only makes matters worse. The brand must own up to it. Admit it and take responsibility.
2. Never Give Up
Most brands are worth fighting for. They have flourished for a reason and to give up would be a mistake. You must fight for the brand and for the brand’s resurgence. It’s not easy but it’s worth the fight.
3. Lead Strong
After taking responsibility it’s important to have strong leadership. From those who believe in the brand, those who care for the brand and who want to bring the brand back to life and vitality. The work is not accomplished by the timid. It must be done from a strong vision and purpose.
4. Stay Relevant
As long as you have relevance you have a chance. That means listening to consumers and hearing what they say. And making sure the brand is relevant to their desires and needs.
5. Keep Improving
The road to recovery is never easy or quick. It requires a long concerted effort. And it means pushing for improvement. Improvement from staff and employees, processes, products, services, communications and throughout the organization.
6. Build Equity
Brand equity is a valuable commodity. And as you attempt to turn a brand around you must build band equity. You must make sure the brand has value and customer loyalty again.
7. Own Your Distinction
Every viable brand has a mark or characteristic of distinction. A distinction that gives meaning to the brand. Being a commodity or doing it just like everyone one or being only as good as everyone else will not resurrect a brand. Only by creating a true consumer-oriented distinction can you revive and sustain a brand.
Healthcare brands are vulnerable to crises, mishaps, bad publicity unanticipated negative situations. Every brand will face them from time to time. And how we handle them and deal with them will determine the life and vitality of the brand for the future.