At Cool Blue we’re in the business of protecting our clients’ reputation. That means building positive perceptions when the wind’s in your favour and responding effectively when it’s not.

Every company is different, but there are some rules of thumb that can help everyone in a crisis. Here are our top tips on protecting your brand.

If it’s not your fault, don’t own it – Lots of things are out of your control, and if you did everything in your power then don’t take responsibility. If other businesses are affected too, why should you be the spokesperson? Hundreds of businesses were affected by the global ransomware attack last month, but only the NHS ended up being the poster boy for poor cyber security.

If it is your fault, own up – Things do go wrong, and smartphone cameras mean you’re vulnerable to being exposed. When United Airlines dragged a passenger off an overbooked plane last month, the video went viral. The CEO should have apologised immediately and dealt with the member of staff – his big mistake was defending the policy rather than caring for the customer.

Prepare for the worst – If you know the weak spots of your business then you can prepare for issues in advance. Have your PR person or agency draft some lines of rebuttal, then you won’t be scrabbling around trying to respond under pressure. When British Airways had a power outage last month, it was caught off guard so the media and stranded customers didn’t get updates.

Stick to the script – Social media is a great resource for businesses but using it badly can affect your reputation. Make sure whoever has access to your Facebook and Twitter has proper training and follows procedure. You don’t want to learn the hard way, like fashion label Kenneth Cole which accidentally piggy-backed on an uprising in Egypt to try and promote its spring collection.

We’ll be presenting a few more ideas at a ‘Protect Your Business’ event on June 15 at Beamish Hall Hotel, County Durham.

For more information and free tickets visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/protect-your-business-tickets-34744316185.