Reputation Risks


How much value do you really place on your reputation?

Corporate reputation is classed by business leaders as one of their organisation’s primary assets. Therefore, you would think such a prized possession would be worth investing in and protecting, right?

Apparently not.

Our 2020 Reputation Reality report shows that while more than 95% of senior executives highly prize their corporate reputation, and say it is an increasingly harder asset to manage, this is not matched by the actions being taken to protect it.

Your reputation is not what you think it is; it is how others perceive you.

Therefore, as an organisation what you say and how you act need to be tightly aligned and believable. Actions should match words, and above all, both should be authentic.

This all comes into sharp focus when a crisis turns the spotlight onto your organisation.

With integrity, quality of products and services plus relationships being the three most important drivers of reputation; it is not surprising that the triggers that undermine an organisation’s reputation are customer dissatisfaction, regulation impost, company culture and security of personal data.

It is also concerning that there is a distinct lack of confidence by senior executives and directors in their organisation’s ability to proactively manage the organisation’s reputation during a crisis. Only 39% of New Zealand organisations and 36% of Australian organisations strongly agree that their organisation is proactive in protecting its reputation.

The best way to mitigate reputational risk is to be prepared, to do what you say you will, and to do it consistently.

Another major concern is how few organisations are testing their crisis-plan once a year, if at all. No matter how beautifully crafted a crisis communication plan is, unless it is regularly stress tested and kept current, and unless your people know their roles and are confident in their ability to deliver on them, it will certainly not be fit for purpose on the day you really need it.

Out of the organisations which do have a crisis communication plan (50% in Australia and 69% in New Zealand), only 18% of Australian entities and 26% of New Zealand entities tested it annually.

By not setting aside time and budget to invest in building people’s capability and developing risk mitigation processes, organisations are most certainly putting their much prized reputation at further risk than it already is.

It’s your choice really. Invest and prepare; or sit back and prepare to fail.

SenateSHJ's CEO Neil Green explores the biggest reputation risks now, and emerging risks in the next 3 years.