Introduction: It’s what you do next that counts
This entertaining introduction shows why the rules of resilience are so crucial in the current moment. Copulsky looks at recent high-profile PR disasters like the Tiger Woods scandal, noting the role that new networked media and the hypercompetitive business environment played, and warns that brands are increasingly vulnerable to threats from intentional and accidental brand saboteurs. As a result, brand owners need to be more deliberate in protecting their investments by aggressively playing defense, and having solid recovery strategies at the ready.
Part One: Why your brand is at more risk than you think in a high-speed world
A Brand New Day: Valuable brands, fragile brands
Copulsky lays out the paradox facing brand owners today: brands are enormously powerful (and becoming more so), but incredibly fragile (and becoming more so). Brands can create enormous value for their owners by enabling premium pricing, high levels of customer advocacy, and greater permission to enter new markets, new customer segments, and new product categories – crucial advantages in a crowded market. However, these same qualities make them more vulnerable than ever, especially given the level of transparency today’s consumer demands. In this chapter, Copulsky shows how to determine brand value, and the factors likely to affect it in the near future.
Marketing as Warfare: The new insurgency
Brand warfare has always been intense, but at least back then it was predictable. Today, it’s a messy affair – your enemies are not always easily identifiable; constantly changing technology allows for improvisation and never-before-seen techniques; and sooner or later, insurgents figure out how to overcome even the most well-planned defenses. Here, Copulsky offers seven steps for tackling brand sabotage, which become the structure for the chapters that follow.
Part Two: Seven steps for managing brand risk and recovery
Step One: Assess brand risks – The enemy within
Brand sabotage comes in many forms – sometimes from the places you least expect. Employees blogging about their job dissatisfaction or your executive team behaving boorishly in public are just two examples of internal sabotage, a huge thorn in the side of several well-known companies in recent years. In this chapter, Copulsky offers a framework for assessing your internal sabotage risks, the motivations behind them, and the potential impacts – to help you head them off at the pass.
Step One: Assess brand risks – Beyond your borders
The more intuitive form of sabotage is external – from competitors, disgruntled customers, activists or anyone else with a bone to pick. This chapter includes a self-assessment so you can see where your company might be exposed, especially if an attack has already occurred.
Step Two: Galvanize your brand troops
Preventing brand sabotage begins with awareness of the threat. In this chapter, Copulsky discusses how to galvanize your employees to take personal responsibility in detecting and pre-empting threats to the brand. He covers employee use of social media – increasingly an area of concern among many companies – to show how it can be leveraged for good. He also shows how to train your employees to maximize engagement and gather competitive intelligence during the course of their daily work.
Step Three: Deploy your brand risk early warning systems
One of the scariest aspects of the new brand sabotage is that it’s almost impossible to avoid – it could truly happen to anyone. But if you construct an early warning system to alert you to the rumblings of trouble, you can take steps to avert and minimize the damage. In this chapter, marketing executives and others describe the steps they have taken to build and test these early warning systems. Copulsky also evaluates some of the available third-party solutions for assessing and detecting potential threats, particularly those which come from social media. Sidebars profile the companies offering these solutions.
Step Four: Repel the attacks on your brand
It’s hard to know what the best tack to take is after an embarrassing bout of publicity. Apologize? Explain? Stay silently aloof? As recent examples have shown, trying to find someone or something to blame usually doesn’t work, and can sometimes exacerbate the problem. Citing the classic Tylenol crisis case and the more recent Toyota challenges, this chapter focuses on what your company can do AFTER it's been the victim of an act of brand sabotage – to limit fallout, repair public trust, and come out looking better in the end.
Step Five: Learn and adapt your brand defenses
Many sources of brand sabotage can also provide opportunities for insight and growth, but only if you strive for adaptability and flexibility in your brand protection strategy. In this chapter, Copulsky shows how companies can translate one-off responses into more systematic changes that reduce the likelihood of future attacks.
Step Six: Measure and track brand resilience
Your brand is only as resilient as its last response. In this chapter, Copulsky explains the importance of measuring and tracking your brand’s resilience as vigilantly as you would any other vital sign. He discusses the measures involved, as well as potential approaches for monitoring brand sabotage, depending on company size, industry, and risk. He also provides examples of “dashboards” that measure and track relevant data.
Step Seven: Generate popular support for your brand resilience campaign
Organizations work because roles and responsibilities are clear and processes support these roles. This chapter focuses on identifying the roles that various parts of the organization have to play in guarding against brand sabotage, and developing “brand advocates” at every level of the organization. Copulsky pays particular attention to the role of the Board, and how they can set a standard of “risk-intelligent governance” that then trickles down through the organization.
Part Three: A glance ahead
Looking backward, looking forward
Here, Copulsky summarizes the key concepts in the book, and looks ahead to the brand sabotage issues that companies will likely face in the near future. He reviews how to measure the risk to your brand, his recommendations for self-defense, and actionable steps companies can take to reach true brand resilience. While not ensuring a risk-free future, he reminds you that we’re all living in the same fishbowl and that it’s how you handle the inevitable bumps that will ultimately win your customers’ loyalty – and keep your brand strong for years to come.
For additional information about the book or to contact the author, please e-mail BrandResilience@deloitte.com.