BP is probably one of the most famous, and spectacular examples of a failure in crisis communications.
Who can forget Tony Hayward famous responses to the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010?
Most companies are unlikely ever to face anything of this magnitude, but there are a whole of issues and risks which can damage your reputation:
- product recalls
- bad weather interrupting supplies deliveries
- mistakes by staff
Weber Shandwick’s 2013 report, Safeguarding Reputation estimated that 63% of a company’s market value is attributed to reputation – and it can take three and a half years for a company to fully recover from an issue which has damaged its reputation.
There are some significant examples of this: in 2012 nearly $2.2 billion was wiped off Goldman Sachs market value when an employee criticised the CEO in the New York Times, and in the same year, a printing firm mistakenly leaked news of a drop in Google’s profits, knocking $24 billion of its value in eight minutes as shares were suspended.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
There is a lot of truth in Warren Buffets quote, especially in these days of social media, when complaints and comments can be retweeted and spread around the globe in moments.
So, it is vital to consider how you are going to respond to a crisis – before it happens.
Having gone through a stringent robust crisis communications planning process, clarifying the actions to be taken in the event of a range of potential problems and emergencies and shared your plan with every member of staff is as important as every emergency procedure, risk management plan and liability insurance that you put in place.
Protecting your reputation in a crisis
On 3 March, I am running a “Protecting your reputation in a crisis” course on behalf of the Institute of Risk Management.
This will cover how to:
- Audit your crisis communication
- Identify different audiences
- Create a crisis communications strategy
- Develop holding statements
- Weigh up the pros and consof various communication channels, including social media.
Those who will attend will leave the course able to:
- Take the potential for reputational damage into account when auditing or assessing risks
- Understand the importance of integrating communications into a crisis management strategy
- Create, review and maintain your organisation’s crisis communications plan
- Formulate a social media policy.
If you would like more information about crisis communications planning, please contact us on 020 8332 6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the IRM on 020 7709 9808 or email@example.com.