What do you do if your company is rocked by a corporate scandal? How do you recover from the negative blowback from the unsavory publicity and the ugly shadow that casts everything in a gloomy pall?

Let’s face it – mistakes happen. It’s part of life. But when the mistake involves a business and the fallout affects the employees’ livelihoods, the end result can be a game-changer. Strategic crisis communications are essential if you want to recover and move forward with success. Communicating effectively with your employees after a corporate scandal is part of the recovery process and proper messaging will be among the building blocks that will help you head in the right direction.

So how do you pick up the pieces after a scandal has knocked you off your center? Winning back employees’ and customers’ trust isn’t going to be easy, but you can do if you proceed with sincerity, honesty and a forward-looking message.

Not sure how to survive a corporate scandal? Here are 6 #crisisPR tips from @RedBanyan to help: Share on X

It is important to remember that a corporate misstep does not have to be intentional. Problems can arise when creating a positive culture is not a top priority.

Here are 6 ways to restore corporate trust:

1. Apologize if you made a mistake and make sure you do it with sincerity. Half-hearted apologies will never fly. If the apology is not heartfelt, customers and employees will view the effort as a non-apology and your efforts will be in vain. Present your stakeholders with carefully crafted messaging that also includes action points of how you will prevent another scandal from occurring.

The key to successful crisis communications and online reputation repair is authenticity and honesty. Don’t rehash what went wrong. Instead, highlight how you will prevent it from ever happening again.

2. Be honest: Companies must demonstrate what they are doing to get to the root cause of the problem, what they will do to make amends and how they will prevent a recurrence of the disaster. Organizations with comprehensive crisis PR plans will be able to outline a recovery plan quicker and begin contacted necessary stakeholders with a plan of action.

3. Double down on customer service. After a corporate scandal it’s important to be your best behavior. You want to put your best foot forward, and make sure the problems never happen again, so you can restore faith in your company’s work ethic and mission. Connecting with your stakeholders on social media is a good way to get your message out fast. It’s also a great way to get feedback from your target audience so you can gauge how you are being received in the wake of negative publicity.

Reputation rehabilitation can take time and may require a cycle of new, positive content on social media and on your company website before you begin to see positive results. Pay attention to customer reviews, listen to your customers, and make sure their concerns are heard. Keeping the lines of communication open is key to moving forward in a positive manner.

4. Bring on new leaders. “Out with the old and in with the new” may be a cliché but the message it carries is important. Change may be necessary in the wake of a scandal and maybe what is necessary to restore faith in the company. If the mistake was values-based, let employees know and explain that changes will happen incrementally and over time. Management changes can be devastating, if they are not handled with care. Make sure the replacement leaders share the company’s values and embrace its mission.

5. Invest in training or programming. Personnel problems are typically the result of poor training. Train your employees thoroughly so human resources-related issues are never the source of a crisis. Investing in your staff shows that the company values its employees, is progressive and is on a path to improvement.

6. Better, different, more positive. Rebranding may be in order, and it is important to get a handle on the image you want to portray as soon as possible.

Recovering from a corporate scandal is very possible, but takes a focused effort to apologize, address customer concerns and put forth a new and improved image.