Reputation Management as a Fundamental Marketing Imperative During Time of Crisis

Reputation Management as a Fundamental Marketing Imperative During Time of Crisis

The Evangelists’ Chapter 34, entitled: “Reputation Management as a Fundamental Marketing Imperative during Times of Crisis'' featuring Jed Estanislao, the Head of Marketing of Eastern Communications.

Learn about Brand Reputation Management

The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Pancho Dizon, this chapter is titled “Reputation Management as a Fundamental Marketing Imperative During Time of Crisis.” In it, Jed Estanislao, the Head of  Marketing of Eastern Communications, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in brand identity.   

Customer Empathy as a Key to Crisis Management

Preserving the reputation of a company sits at the core of brand building and serves as the  primary lever in convincing the audience to patronize its products or services. It is every  marketer’s role to influence public perception in a positive light, and direct it towards a  favorable outcome for the organization, preferably through brand awareness or revenue  generation. 

Beyond the orthodox approach of preventing negative publicity through good old press  releases, what does it really take to address reputational risks? As Jed Estanislao, Head of  Marketing at telecommunication service provider, Eastern Communications, put it, “You  need to heed the call of being authentic to your brand. You need to understand and fully  live what your brand’s strengths are, including its weaknesses, and convert these into  opportunities to continuously improve.”  

More than highlighting the company’s cutting-edge services, Estanislao and his team, for  the past few years, have been championing the human connection in the communications  technology industry. Starting from building healthy work relationships among employees  by actively addressing their concerns to providing personalized customer service to their  clients, Estanislao believes in the positive domino effect of establishing the reputation  inside out. Embracing the company’s true purpose equips every marketer no matter the  circumstances. 

A crisis is every marketer’s nightmare. Whether it’s a destructive environmental hazard, a  threat to health and safety, or a wrongful displacement of local communities―no amount  of hard-hitting good PR could salvage the potentially irreparable damage to a brand. A  crisis should at all costs be averted and prevented.  

In times when crisis kicks in, “it helps to revert to a customer mindset,” Estanislao said,  adding,“You need to ask what your customer would want to hear in a moment of distress.  Do I just appease them? Or is it better to be truthful, be quick to respond to ease their  discomfort and face the issue head on? It always helps to put their thoughts first and align  them with the interests of the brand.” 

The COVID-19 was a global crisis that was unprecedented in all fronts, unimaginable in  all realms of thought known to nations big and small. It brought our country to its knees  and accelerated the transformation of organizations to a highly virtual and digital way of  operating. 

Estanislao shared that the primary goal of Eastern Communications was to assure its  customers that the company would continue to operate as normal and deliver its quality  services. Observing that customers were using social media platforms to send complaints,  Estanislao and his team then made sure to remain on top of feedback channels to address  concerns immediately. 


Likewise, his team leveraged the presence of Eastern Communications on social media to  communicate their latest initiative, #SafeAndStrongAtHome, in response to the COVID-19  crisis. With online platforms as a major source of valuable information, Estanislao took  the pandemic as a call for amplifying the human connection in the time of isolation by  providing valuable resources and emotional support to individuals, businesses, frontliners,  and more.  

Internally, Estanislao stressed that it was more important than ever to keep an eye on the  ground. “Since we all had to work from home in the early days of the pandemic, it was my  team’s mandate to keep connected through collaboration channels, specifically Microsoft  Teams,” he said. “Through the platform, we were able to successfully hold town halls as  digital dialogues and online employee engagement activities, where we could listen to  the employees and assure them that our leaders would remain in support of their welfare  throughout the pandemic.” 

Additionally, Estanislao and his team measured the success of internal communication  initiatives by getting employee feedback weekly to assess their challenges and how well  they were coping with the new work-from-home setup. In parallel, a special task force was  established to handle employee concerns and feedback during the COVID-19 pandemic,  ranging from work-related difficulties or specific COVID-19 health challenges.  

“The task force was made from a holistic approach that leveraged on cross-functional  synergies in addressing company-wide concerns and cascading information to the  employees,” Estanislao explained. Thus, the task force was led by representatives from  different divisions: risk management, audit, IT, sales, technical, with marketing helping out  with communications.  

The collaborative nature of providing internal and external COVID-19 response unearthed  hidden problem-solving skills beyond marketing. “Project Management, a very critical  component of every crisis resolution activity, came in very handy,” Estanislao said. It  was his technical background from his engineering experience in his previous company,  telecommunications giant Globe, that contributed to his methodical approach in crisis  management, and his agile adaptability in the face of the pandemic’s challenges. 

This belief also plays a large part in Estanislao’s advocacy to get more technical workers like  engineers into marketing. As a graduate of Electronics and Communications Engineering,  Estanislao believes that an engineer’s knowledge of the company’s intricate products and  services make them easier to train. He also believes that a technical background serves an  advantage in knowing what features of a product will best draw a consumer in, or what  would tick him off. 

Estanislao has a resounding message on how a company can future-proof its brand with  a strong reputation management capability. “Our product is a commodity―it is tangible, replicable, and can be obsolete. But what cannot be replaced is our impeccable service.  We hold ourselves to high standards of accountability in making sure we deliver above  and beyond what our customers expect. We cannot take back our word and break our  promise. The day that happens is the moment we turn our backs on being a high-tech and  high-touch company,” he said.  

For Estanislao, mistakes will always unexpectedly happen. “What matters is how a brand  bounces back from any crisis. That is what completes a company’s growth journey,” he said.

To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Jed Estanislao, please check out the full book, available for purchase here

The Evangelists - and other business books about the Philippines and Asia Pacific - will soon be streaming on Audiophile, our platform for exclusive Filipino audiobooks. 

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