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Protecting your corporate reputation

How much do companies value their corporate reputation and what are they doing to protect it?

A survey found, somewhat unsurprisingly, that an overwhelming majority of companies thought their corporate reputation was important but tellingly a quarter didn’t know how much of their market value was bound up in their reputation.

A high proportion (66%) said they had plans in place to deal with issues that could damage their reputation with nearly three quarters saying they reviewed their plans at least once a year.

These claims were disputed by financial advisers who were polled at the same time, more than half of whom believed that the majority of small and mid-cap quoted companies were ‘only a little prepared to manage corporate reputation risks’ and 40% thought they were not well prepared at all. Many mentioned that these type of companies lack internal resources or do not have the skills on the board necessary to address corporate reputation issues effectively.

When asked to identify the risks that could damage reputation, the main fears were:

  • Allegations or rumours being made about your company in traditional media (21%)
  • Cyber attack (18%)
  • Allegations or rumours being made about your company on the internet (17%)

However, when asked to elaborate on why they feared a particular risk they were unable to go into much detail and 13% didn’t know which reputation risk they feared most.

Taking control

Almost half of those polled said in a crisis they would turn to their public relations and PR advisers as it was felt they had a wide range of experience in dealing with corporate reputation issues. There remains a belief, it seems, that comms teams can spin companies out of a crisis.

Comms and PR have a huge role to play in a crisis but while words are important, it’s deeds that count. When it comes to reputation management the lead needs to be taken right at the top of the food chain. The CEO or a particular senior executive should take ownership and form a reputation team.

In the survey one company said: ‘what’s crucial is to have a named team of individuals – ‘The War Cabinet’ – ready to take control of the situation as soon as it occurs.’

The modern inter-connected world has a unique ability to play havoc with that incredibly important, but very fragile commodity the corporate reputation.

If you are concerned you do not have sufficient plans in place to protect your corporate reputation then speak to the experts: Crisis Solutions.