Every week the reputations of organisations and individuals are destroyed, sometimes irretrievably. In the worst cases the companies concerned go into liquidation as a direct result. The rise of social media has increased the risk significantly.
Whilst lawyers can advise and prevent some issues, many fall outside the scope of legal advice. It is therefore recommended that all companies have expert support to prevent and limit the damage of a crisis to the organisation.
Reputational risk is not limited to the media publishing negative stories, it includes your reputation with all your stakeholders and online. Today the damage can be done without the media being involved.
To avoid this Onyx undertakes a PR risk audit; this has the potential to save your business (and your nerves) and can be done relatively cheaply and quickly…
- Examination of the potential risks
- What could a good investigative journalist find out about you and key team members if they went digging? Has anyone said anything on social media, either recently or in the past, that could embarrass you? Are your personal accounts private? Are your key investors also making morally dubious investments?
- Are the claims you make true? Could they be challenged?
- Are any of the statements you make potentially damaging? How could they be twisted? Public and media sensitivities change rapidly. What was acceptable a year ago could create a crisis today.
2. Scenario Planning
What’s the worst that could happen, how can you avoid it or manage it effectively, if that’s not possible? For example, what would happen if:
- You had a data leak
- You’re responsible for an organisation or an individual experiencing either financial loss or, in the case of the individual, injury or death
- You get very poor online reviews
- An employee breaches client confidentiality
- A director committed fraud
- An employee is racist to a customer or colleague
- Your advertising is publicly criticised for being offensive?
3. Review of your processes, policies, protocols and leadership structure
- Who manages your social media and website? Who has the passwords? What is the process for stopping people continuing to post if they leave the company?
- Who would be able to approve statements to the media in an emergency? How quickly could that happen?
- Are there complaint procedures in place, both for customers and for employees, to ensure that grievances are heard, and lesson learnt before they’re made public? (A well-managed complaint can improve the reputation of a company).
- How do you manage data security? How do you avoid a ‘copied to all’ scenario? Are you GDPR compliant?
- How do you manage online reviews and messages? How quickly do you respond?
- How are your employees vetted? Is it appropriate for the level of risk?
- How can you prove that you take your ‘duty of care’ seriously?
Usually some risks are exposed that cannot be avoided (e.g. A payment company is always at risk of people complaining that they were treated unfairly, and an IT company can never be 100% certain it will never be hacked). And of course, the degree of tolerance for risks will be different from one company and sector to another. Some companies are deliberately provocative to get attention. However, by identifying the risks, we can ensure that they are managed effectively.
Get in touch, even if you just want to check what your risks are. It could save your business.