How to Save Your Brand’s Reputation

April 7, 2021

Three Steps to Save Your Reputation: A Sunwest PRscription

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it.” 

“You’re only as good as your last at-bat.” 

Regardless of how you phrase it, the message is still the same: How your brand acts (or reacts) in the face of crisis can save your brand’s reputation. 

Over the past year, much of the world was talking about the term “brand fragility” due to brands’ responses – or lack thereof – to the pandemic and tensions surrounding racial equity. For every brand that “did it right,” it seemed there were two more who found themselves in hot water.

Enter 2021 and the reputational crisis surrounding the stock trading app, Robinhood. It was the first major crisis a brand faced in several months that wasn’t related to COVID or racial equity. In a nutshell, big investors were shorting the GameStop stock and Redditors quickly worked together – using the Robinhood app – to boost the stock price of GameStop and “stick it” to the shorters.

Robinhood users became aggrieved when the app suddenly put a stop to the trading of the GameStop stock. Their actions made it appear as though they were more concerned about high-powered investors than the everyday, casual traders – the main user base of their app.

So how could Robinhood have avoided this reputational crisis – and how can you save your brand’s reputation if you find yourself in a similar situation?

Sunwest’s three-step PRescription for Robinhood is the same we’d give to any brand facing crisis:

1. Communicate early

2. Communicate often

3. Be transparent (even if you can’t provide many details)

Bottom line: Reputations are saved by open, frequent and honest communication – and when you’re trying to save your brand’s reputation, there’s no substitute for that.

Check out our accompanying Two Minutes of Advice video with Crayton Webb. And if you want to hear another great perspective on the Robinhood crisis, read this fantastic blog by Linas Beliunas.