Stardust, a 2007 movie with a fun story, great characters, and exciting musical score. While watching the movie, one character you may never see coming is that of Captain Shakespeare played by Robert De Niro. A fearsome pirate captain who also has a bit of a secret and a personal brand to protect. See the clip below and you will understand.
What you don’t see in the clip is the line Captain Shakespeare provides for why he behaves two different ways. In his line of work his pirate reputation depends on him being fearsome. However, he has to hide his true self from his pirate crew and outside world because “reputations, you know— a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.”
This is true in brand marketing as well. Brands are built slowly, strategically, and methodically. Then, can be quickly destroyed by some type of incident. For example, Toyota’s brand of safety and quality was tarnished about 10 years ago after several rounds of recalls. Target’s brand took a hit after hackers stole credit card information of several millions of customers.
Take a look at the Stardust clip below. Note the surprise on the intruder’s face when he sneaks into the captain’s room.
Someone is not living up to their fearsome brand! That same look of shock on the intruders face can most likely be seen on the faces of your customers when they notice your organization is not living up to their brand. Here are some items to protect against incidents that take away from the brand.
- Create a strong brand. Have your brand architecture, brand promise, positioning statements, brand values, and key elements established. The stronger and more coherent the brand before the incident, the bigger the incident must be to wreak havoc.
- Get staff on board. Provide actionable guides, presentations, and training information for how staff can live the brand. Train brand ambassadors for higher level of understanding into the brand.
- Advertise the brand. Get the word out. Educate consumers about the brand. Turn customers into loyal brand followers on social media and at events. Allowing brand customers to be apart of the brand and trust the brand will allow them to be more understanding of an incident.
- Crisis communication plan. A good offense is a good defense. Have a plan around for when something does go awry. Key administrators and staff should know who, what, where, when, how, and why to say certain things. Having a plan in place can save time, confusion, and headaches for when something does occur.
- Live by the values. Part of creating a strong brand is creating a set of brand values. Be sure the organization lives by them. You trust friends whom gain your trust. Gain the trust of your organization’s followers by allowing them to observe how your organization acts and responds. The values should be followed both before and during any trying episode. The more engrained the values the better.
As a bonus, here is my favorite scene from the movie.