Breaking the “Brand” Rule – 1 Important Brand Voice Change in a Breastfeeding Crisis (It’s Only Temporary)

By on Feb 10, 2015 in breastfeeding incident, corporate communications, restaurants, training | 0 comments

We’ve heard so much about brand over the past several years. Experts advise that branding be consistent across all platforms and with every customer touch point. Our locations, our policies, our employee dress code, the décor and corporate offices should all mesh and give off the same vibe. But when it comes to a breastfeeding incident, you may need to alter your brand voice a little. In this case, a temporary – yet crucial – brand voice change should be considered.

Before we get to that, let’s consider the details of a breastfeeding incident. The parties involve, at minimum, a mother and baby, and an employee or manager at one of your locations that wasn’t trained in federal and state breastfeeding laws and possibly invented a corporate policy on the spot. In the case of one of my private clients, there were two separate incidents in two different states within a single week! However, the cast list quickly expands from there. Depending on whether bloggers or the media have picked up the story, the players may escalate to hundreds or even thousands of mothers and families.

When engaging about a breastfeeding incident, temporarily softening the edges of all your interactions will add a caring tone and much-needed warmth. As a national retail or restaurant brand, you likely have a PR firm spokesperson accustomed to using formal and corporate-sounding statements. However, when answering media questions or engaging with the public on social media, that tried-and-true approach may lack the warmth and authenticity this situation requires. What works for an investor conference call will be unlikely to work here, so adopt a softer, more caring tone that lets your customers and commenters know that you’re listening, you care about what they’re saying and you won’t ignore them.

Here’s a tip: Schedule a review and update your social media response templates and press statements with the above thoughts in mind. Become prepared now so your brand is ready in the unfortunate case of a breastfeeding incident.

For more helpful tips specific to social media, see The 3 Social Media Essentials in Crisis Communications for Retail and National Restaurant Brands.

For insight into why breastfeeding incidents provoke the strong response we’ve seen in several national media cases read Why Breastfeeding Incidents Escalate So Quickly.

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