Does Your Brand Have A Succession Plan?

brand succession

The impact of Steve Jobs’ death on the Apple brand is still as closely watched today as it was in 2011. Early succession planning helped bridge any vacancy gap but maintaining brand loyalty and relevance through transitions of any kind requires a succession plan of its own.

Do you have a succession plan for your brand?

Developing and establishing a unique brand identity for your business is only part of the job. Making sure it continues to grow in strength and value among current and potential customers through the ups and downs of your business is just as critical.

In the case of Apple, keeping the brand strong meant proving that the Jobs “tech genius” brand legacy still lived on with the creation of the next generation of must-have, innovative gadgetry.

However, it’s the unexpected crisis when a brand succession plan really comes into its own. With the hacking of celebrity iPhones making international news, CEO Tim Cook made the unusual decision to address the issue publicly via a Wall Street Journal interview. Same brand, same objective to protect it, but with a nuanced response to crisis management that fits the new style of leadership.

Customers and competitors continually watch these companies’ every move after such dramatic changes in management, and you can only make it to the other side of potential crises – with brands intact – by knowing your customer base.

Ask yourself before building your brand succession plan:

  • What do I know about my customers? Do I know what they expect from my business? Understanding your customer demographics, needs and habits will help you further refine your brand and keep it relevant over the years.
  • Have I fostered good relationships with my clients? A strong business will naturally excel in relationship management. In times of change or turmoil, it’s imperative to recognize those relationships and act before your clients demand it.
  • What does my brand image communicate? A strong brand has a clear and unique image that stands for something important to targeted customers.
  • Does my brand have a solid foundation that can withstand any stress test?
  • Is my brand stale or stagnant? Does it need to be repositioned or refocused?

Your brand succession plan basically boils down to being prepared: a well thought-out action plan that helps you cross troubled waters with minimal damage to your brand. GillespieHall can support you when the water gets rough.

Bridget Paverd is a public relation professional and founding partner at GillespieHall. The firm is retained by global companies to manage their reputation and relevance. A recognized crisis communication specialist, Paverd teaches crisis media management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. Paverd first expressed her desire to become a PR entrepreneur at age 10 when she successfully created a word-of-mouth campaign at her school to offer students alternatives to gym classes. She has been influencing minds and opinions ever since.

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