In this era you cannot protect your brand from taking a hit to its image.
What will help you is to have a crisis management plan in place that matches your product and potential (obvious) crisis. Along with your band image it is important to build ties with media and create a group of trusted spokespeople from within your industry and outside. When crises happen these people should be on your side or at least they should give you enough time to respond before they go out to public.
Finally if a crisis has happened and your brand is involved first step is to be calm, think and act with sincerity. Acknowledge the situation, build a proper response. Your first response to the crises will determine the extent of damage. Don’t get into the blame game that will only make matters worse. Customers know the brand so if the brand is involved in the crises then the customers perceive it’s the brands fault, if not the brand should not have been in the crises in the first place. In 1982, seven people died after ingesting Tylenol which was laced with cyanide by some random person. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) didn’t wait and say that it was not done by them or some criminal minded person has done it (which in this case was true). They had to control the entire situation immediately, first thing they did was promptly recalled 30 million bottles of the medicine, communicated candidly with the public, and devised new safety-sealed packaging. Its quick, transparent response allowed J&J to rebound to its previous market penetration in a year.
Your first response to the crisis will set the tone for either saving and reviving your brand or death of it. Be very careful about making your first statement.
Remember if you handle the trauma well, and set the stage for recovery, you can make the crisis fade away quickly. E.g. Cadbury India, Maggi.