Question: After a screwup, what steps can you take to rebuild your personal brand?
Question by: Ashley
Don't Dwell on the Past
"The worst thing you can do after you or "your brand" has suffered a personal setback (e.g. public failure, integrity loss) is to dwell on it. Anything you think you've screwed up, you can always fix, but it's up to you. Take action -- go start something new and ignore the haters. Just start somewhere. Start a new company, or a new project. You're your own worst enemy in these type of situations."
Own Up to What Happened
"The best way to bounce back from a screwup is to be forthright about what occurred. Be an open book with your customers, clients and fans, and send out an email or other update about what happened and how the misstep was made. Your honesty will strike a chord with your followers, and you may find your "mistake" is no big deal in their eyes."
Don't Lose Momentum
"As you strive to rebuild your brand, continue to network inside and outside your organization, and take on new projects that will restore your confidence. Take stock of what went wrong and how you can prevent a similar outcome next time. Assessing the situation honestly and talking about your insights will put the scandal in its proper context, and allow you to start anew without regret."
Seize Your Moment to Shine
"A screwup can sometimes be an ideal opportunity to showcase your other strengths. Acknowledge the mistake, but focus on how you'll take action to remedy it going forward. An aggressive recovery can help to build an even better relationship with those you offended."
Keep Showing Up
"After a screwup, it's natural to want to hide away, take some time to focus and energize. That's often what people will expect you to do. Do the opposite and keep showing up. Be better, be bigger, be bolder. People will soon forget the screw up and focus instead on what you've achieved since then."
Frame the Situation Constructively
"It's important to admit mistakes, but how you do so is important. Try to draw parallels to larger truths, such as, "We are human and we still make mistakes," or "Software is never perfect," etc. Then, follow up with a personalized statement: "But we learn each time and pride ourselves on never repeating past mistakes." Reframing the context helps people understand that perfection is unrealistic."
Make Up for the Mistake
"If you are truly at fault, it is imperative that you admit the mistake immediately in order not to hurt your long-term reputation. Then try to show goodwill by going above and beyond to make up for it. For example, let's say you billed someone twice by mistake. You should not only immediately refund all their money, but you should also give them something free on top of an apology."
Monitor the Media
"Although customers will accept an apology, you must monitor the media for any negative reviews about your brand. Be ready to provide a positive response and let the public know what you have done to avoid the mistake from happening again."
Make That Phone Call
"I haven't personally ruined my brand or reputation (that I know of), therefore, I can only suggest a few things that I would do. First off, make a few phone calls to your top clients and ask for their recommendation and testimonies for future and immediate reference. Second, I would amend the situation promptly, this could include redoing the job, or simply asking for that second chance."
Ditch the Excuses
"Mistakes are actually an opportunity to enhance your personal brand. When you screw up, don't try to make excuses --acknowledge that the mistake was your fault and be clear and direct about it. In these moments, you can exhibit your character for openness and honesty. People love doing business with open and honest people."
Readjust Your Brand
"The first step after a screwup is to update all of your social media accounts reflecting your stance. Then, own your first page of Google real estate by using BrandYourself to optimize your social media search results. This service ensures your message is in front of the general public."
Assess the Damage
"Often times, it's after a big screwup or setback that you have the most clarity on where you're currently at. Use this as an opportunity to take an honest look at the direction your brand has taken, and then move forward from there. The best step you can take towards rebuilding it is to remind yourself exactly what it stands for."
Play the Offense
"When you find something online that you don't like about yourself, the first thought is, "How do I get rid of that?" The honest answer is, you can't. So get on the offensive and litter the web with positive proof of your personal brand. Be consistent across all platforms and just be yourself -- your personal brand will shine through."
Fix It Before It Happens
"Unless you've worked to build your brand before it happens, it's a tall order trying to repair public perception after a screwup. If you're already using your social networks to organically highlight the passion and expertise you have for what you do, your community will be forgiving (within reason) as you make mistakes. Just be honest and take ownership for your part in the mistake."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.