Identifying and preventing the incidences that might harm your firm’s reputation can be a challenge at best.
The explosive expansion of Web-based communications and social media has aggravated the risks of reputational damage, while dramatically reducing response time to counter these threats.
According to Reputation Review 2012, a report from Oxford Metrica sponsored by Aon P.L.C., a public company runs an 80% chance of suffering a reputational risk that can cost at least 20% of its equity value in any month over a five-year period. Privately held companies face similar risks.
These exposures can come from a wide variety of sources, from product safety and unhappy customers to regulatory pressures and behavior by managers. Examples include recent massive breaches of consumer data held by major financial institutions, and the effect on companies that faced supply chain disruptions or radiation fears after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 — not to mention the impact of that year’s outbreak of listeria in cantaloupes. Although this infection came from a single farm, other producers (and even companies selling different types of melons) suffered a loss of reputation.
With reputational risks coming in various and sometimes unpredictable forms, experts recommend that you help protect yourself by:
- Creating an “early warning system” to monitor print, electronic, and social media for negative references to the company.
- Evaluating whether a negative comment should have a response (not every tweet or Facebook post matters).
- Getting frontline employees involved in responding to reputational threats, rather than having top management and PR staff deal with them.
Our agency’s experts stand ready at any time to help you discuss your risk, review potential scenarios, and then build and test a plan for dealing with events that threaten your reputation.
Having an effective plan to deal with these threats can actually improve your company’s reputation.