12 Steps Every New CEO Should Take After a Company PR Crisis

11/16/2017 08:17 am ET

When a PR crisis hits your business, it can call for a change of leadership to get back on the straight and narrow again. Uber and Equifax are both welcoming new heads of operations to help reverse the negative attention they have received and warm their companies back up to consumers. So, what should be the first order of business for these new CEOs?

A. Re-Establish Trust

Economies are built off of trust between the consumer and the producer. When trust is broken, there is a significant negative impact on the business. Therefore, a new CEO must re-establish that trust first and foremost. The best way to do this is to be overly transparent with the consumer and let them know what you are doing to move the business forward and not repeat the same mistakes. - Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

A. Be Frank About the Past

If the company has received lots of negative publicity, as Uber and Equifax have, there's no point in trying to pretend that nothing is wrong. The new CEO should be frank about past mistakes and make it clear that he or she is going to bring about a fresh start and make some significant changes. It's essential to address the problem areas head on, and introduce a new vision for the company. - Shawn Porat, Scorely

A. Clean the Slate

The first step of a new CEO should be to come clean and apologize for past mistakes. It should be followed up with an explanation as to how the company can learn and change for the better from those indiscretions, and promise to be more open and transparent with any issues in the future. - Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

A. Set Out Very Clear Principles

In cases like Uber and Equifax, it's extremely important to set out clear, concise principles for the company to follow. More important than the strategic direction or specific tactical executions, the team needs to know "we do not let X happen here." From those boundaries, the internal leaders can be set free to confidently plan and execute. - Brennan White, Cortex

A. Correct Mistakes and Focus on the Future

Only time can heal wounds. A new CEO would be wise to immediately resolve any issues giving their brand bad press and to move on, focusing on delivering a quality product. I'd recommend hiring an online reputation management/PR firm to drive some positive press to your organization. Mainly, focus on innovation. With so many corporate scandals, you just have to be patient and hope people will forget. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

A. Become a Media Company

We now live in a time where everyone can be a media company. In Uber's case, they can feature case studies of people previously unemployed who are now working. They can also follow Airbnb's philanthropic example and find some Uber drivers willing to donate their time during a time of need. My advice for the new CEOs would be to take their blog seriously and use it to change the conversation. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. Develop an Action Plan for Change

The new CEO has to develop an action plan that details what changes will be made to ensure these issues don't happen again in their operations. This has to be shared publicly and provide information on specific steps being taken. Then, the CEO will need to make sure those changes start happening to turn the negative attention into positive attention. - John Rampton, Calendar

A. Get Input From the Team

Those who remain at these companies will need to a morale boost and hope, so it would be good if the new CEO held a town hall meeting and got ideas from the team on moving forward, as well as shared their own insights to see how the team felt. It's important to ensure everyone is on board before any real changes can be made. - Peter Daisyme, Due

A. Make Big Waves

It can be difficult to shake off the baggage that comes with taking a position from someone who royally screwed up. A good way to immediately distinguish yourself and help your brand move past any scandals or crises is to make a sudden and drastic change. It doesn't matter what kind of change, as long as it draws attention to your organization and yourself without evoking images of past failures. - Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

A. Create a Positive Difference

Take some time to reflect on what went wrong to make sure it doesn't happen again and focus your future plans on creating a positive difference. Take philanthropy seriously, treat employees fairly and become a company where there is more good news than bad. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

A. Make Meaningful Changes

Customers can tell the difference between a genuine effort to improve substance-free PR-driven brand communications. Once a brand has lost the trust of customers, being seen to make real root-and-branch changes to culture and processes is the only way forward. There will be pushback from entrenched interests within the company, so the new CEOs will have to be tough and uncompromising. - Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

A. Issue A Press Release

Issue a press release with thoughtful details about how you are going to go above and beyond to address the issue. Demonstrate that you understand the core fundamentals of the problem, and are willing to do what it takes to resolve it. - Ismael Wrixen, FE International

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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