One of the many facets of a successful public relations strategy is the building and maintenance of brand value. In fact, one of the largest factors considered when valuing a company can be its reputation. Protecting a brand reputation during a crisis can be crucial, as has been demonstrated recently with the Toyota and BP public relation disasters. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out several reasons that companies need to plan ahead for protecting, maintaining and building brand value.

Most executives consider brand reputation and brand building in a positive light. They build a brand to increase consumer awareness and revenues. It is a part of the marketing mix, despite being difficult to measure or quantify. However, most marketing executives consider it an important aspect of a successful marketing strategy.

 Less consideration is made towards protecting the brand during a crisis, and yet that is when brand reputation becomes paramount. Response times, communication tone, and an organization's ability to manage a crisis can either enhance or detract from an organization's value.

This means that strategies and tactics should be set in advance of negative news or circumstances. Preparation is key. One of the worst mistakes a company can make during a crisis is for the management team to look like it has been taken unawares. The "deer in the headlights" appearance during a press conference can be fatal.

Building a "goodwill reserve" can also mitigate negative news. Proactively building on a strong brand reputation can help overcome negative publicity. This means that a company should never rest on its laurels, but should constantly be looking for ways to build its brand via credible PR efforts.