How to respond to business problems publicly

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Written by:

Business problems are something that may occasionally be unavoidable over the course of your career. Although issues may seem earth shattering in the moment, you can often emerge unscathed if the issue is handled in the appropriate fashion. Sometimes disasters cannot be avoided; they can include issues like a negative reception for one of your tracks, or a cancelled flight meaning that you cannot perform at a show. Issues can also be caused by your own error, including social media posts that cause offense, or could be caused by a negative story in the press. It is important to be prepared for these scenarios in order to limit damage to your reputation as much as possible. But what are the methods for damage control that can be implemented prior to a disaster?

Knowing the difference between an issue and a crisis

The business environment has drastically changed since the introduction of social media. In the past, consumers were much less powerful, and word of mouth posed a much less worrying threat. Now, anyone can take to social media to criticize a brand or individual, and if their criticism receives enough engagement, it can be incredibly damaging for the subject. It is important to understand the difference between an issue and a crisis. An issue is something that will often resolve itself, whereas a crisis will require a lot of damage control.

Remaining professional

When handling an issue you have two options. You can either totally ignore the negative posts, or you can respond. Evaluate which is the best option for the specific situation. If one person sends you a tweet to say they don’t like your new track, there really isn’t any need for you to respond. However, if several people have commented in public that your merchandise sizing is incorrect, you may want to reply to individuals or make a statement for your whole following to see. Only make a public statement if absolutely necessary, if the situation can be resolved by simply responding to individuals, this will draw less attention to the issue. If you do choose to respond, it is absolutely imperative that you do not let emotion cloud your judgement. Always be professional, and never ever respond with anger. Your response is not only for the person who contacted you, but to assure those who read the conversation that you are a professional individual who does not let negative comments affect them. If the person sending negative messages continues without letting up, stop responding, you cannot change the minds of everybody. Know when you are fighting a losing battle, and step out of the conversation. The most important thing is that you retain your reputation, and give a good impression to your fan base.

Knowing whether to intervene

Another important aspect of responding to an issue is predicting whether or not it will go away on its own. One person posting about not liking your latest track isn’t an issue, but a flock of people attacking you for the price of your show tickets is an issue. Knowing whether or not an issue is going to stick is helpful in deciding whether or not to respond publicly. Something that seems like a huge issue at the time may fade away on its own and be forgotten within a few days. Don’t dramatize any issues that don’t need to be addressed. Sometimes the best thing you can do is stay silent.

Planning ahead

A major aspect of emerging from business problems unscathed is planning ahead. Think about issues that you could encounter that may damage your reputation, and create a plan of action around how exactly you will respond if that issue becomes a reality. Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a crisis to plan your response, this is far too late and your emotions may cloud your judgement. One of the most important aspects to prepare is your messaging. Plan exactly what you will say if faced with a crisis. You should always be planning ahead for scenarios like cancellation of a tour or being unable to perform at a festival. These are likely scenarios that most musicians will face during their careers, and planning ahead can really limit the damage. With written messages already planned, this will be one less thing to stress about in an already incredibly stressful situation. Revisit your plans every few months in order to make sure they are up to date and still fit for purpose. The message you give to your fan base in times of crisis can have a huge impact, positively or negatively.

The most important aspect of damage control is planning. Sometimes issues are completely out of your hands as an artist, take back control by making sure that you are prepared for every negative scenario. How you react to negative situations will dictate public opinion on your brand, and can either mend or destroy your relationship with your fan base. With planning already in place, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you are prepared for every scenario. Reacting in the moment is much less healthy for your brand, and may lead to further errors or emotion clouding your judgement. Don’t let your emotions take control, follow the plans already in place and most importantly, stay calm. Often, issues that seem career destroying are actually easily mended. Time is the best healer for your brand, and as long as you stay calm and follow your pre-made plans, any damage to your brand can be repaired.