When it comes to a brand crisis, it’s not a matter of if but when, according to Endeavor CMO Bozoma Saint John, who emphasized her point to Brandweek attendees by humming the theme song from Jaws.
To prepare for the inevitable disaster, and manage it well, Saint John believes brands need to look internally at teams and company culture, make sure the right people are not only present in the room but empowered to speak up, build trust with consumers by being transparent and truly consider the power they have in society.
In a conversation with Tiffany Warren, svp and chief diversity officer for Omnicom Group, founder and president of Adcolor, at Brandweek in Palm Springs, Calif., Saint John questioned why marketers “wait until something detrimental happens” to think about what to do in a crisis.
“Don’t think it’s not going to happen to you,” she said. “The truth of the matter is that we are all vulnerable. Every brand is vulnerable.”
Instead of being frightened of the inevitable, Saint John asked attendees to rethink their strategies, to become more like athletes who train and prepare for every possibility. “It helps on the other side, too, because when that thing inevitably happens, having had not just plans in place but action in place actually gives you some allowances with audiences,” Saint John said.