Wednesday March 11, 2015
How you manage a crisis and organisational issues is a critical part of effective reputation management. Regardless of how ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk you consider the sector you work in, it is an important skill to have. That’s why we invited Andrew Griffin, the Chief Executive of Regester Larkin, to talk to our alumni about the subject of his latest book, 'Crisis, Issues and Reputation Management'.
According to Andrew, reputation is climbing up the agenda of many organisations. Once associated primarily with the corporate affairs department, reputation is now discussed in executive committees and boardrooms. The challenge is that it isn’t easy to define and is not always understood. It is something that is assigned to you by others; it isn’t something you own. Good reputation, he identifies, comes from living your values and exceeding your performance standards; it’s about showing not telling.
Andrew goes on to highlight the limited control we have over reputation and the importance of predicting where reputational risk might come from and preparing for it – whether it might be internally driven (a safety incident or performance issue caused by you) or externally driven (a security incident or policy issue that happens to you).
Not every reputation risk will become a crisis. Andrews defines a crisis as “a big thing that doesn't happen every day” and as “something that has the potential to damage an organisation’s licence to operate”. When it does occur, he tells us, you need to be prepared with a strategy that considers the long-term as well as a more immediate functional response and, in the case of incident-led crises, an operational response as well.
Andrew also highlights the fact that a crisis very rarely comes from comms or corporate affairs, but it is very often felt by comms and corporate affairs. Comms must therefore be represented in the room where decisions are made to explain how the situation is perceived outside the organisation and to help shape strategy.
We’ll leave you with Andrew’s six principles for communicating in a crisis:
• Communicate actions not platitudes
• Own the story
• Prevent shock turning into anger
• Engage stakeholders
• Maintain a long-term reputational lens
• Demonstrate care and concern, control and commitment.
Our thanks to Andrew for talking to us. And also for offering readers of our blog 25% off the RRP of his book, 'Crisis, Issues and Reputation Management', with discount code RL25.
RRP: £24.99 | Discounted price: £18.75 | ISBN: 9780-7494-6992-4