Depending on how a crisis is handled, it might blow over in one or two days, or it can last indefinitely damaging the reputation of your company. Crisis communicators know that the key to crisis management is crisis preparedness. By proactively anticipating crises and taking the necessary steps to prevent them, PR specialists can cut the time and effort spent reacting to these situations. Most savvy PR specialists can strategically identify potential crisis triggers and analyze them to see if their organization continues to be vulnerable. This means pinpointing the basic problem and rectifying it.
“The global business events of the past few years have demonstrated in stark clarity the cost of damage to a corporate reputation,” said George Jamison, who leads Spencer Stuart’s Corporate Communications business. “As a result, experience in crisis management is essentially a mandatory requirement for CCOs today. As our 2012 research shows, crises take time to fade and CEOs are right in wanting the best talent with them in the bunker when they find themselves in the media and political spotlight.”
Nearly two-thirds of global chief communications officers (CCOs) say that crisis management experience is “the new” prerequisite for success. Over 60 percent of CCOs say improvement in corporate reputation is their highest priority. These findings come from the annual survey, The Rising CCO IV, conducted by global executive search firm Spencer Stuart and global public relations firm Weber Shandwick.
According to Weber Shandwick, the long-lasting effects of a damaged reputation due to crises come at a high cost to organizations– 74 percent of CCOs spend most of their time developing resolutions. It takes about 15 months to get past the problem and deal with a host of other issues, such as more media scrutiny (60 percent), more governmental scrutiny (51 percent) and reduced employee morale (42 percent).
In 2010 when social media was a relatively new tool to manage crises, only 33 percent of CCOs believed it was the fastest-growing communications tool. Today, 40 percent of CCOs say they are prepared to manage a social media threat to their reputation. However, nearly one-half of CCOs whose companies suffered a crisis in the past two years beg to differ. Over 40 percent said that social media did not play a role in the crisis, and only seven percent said the crisis began in social media. But when social media was involved in a crisis-making event, CCOs said it was more likely to help resolve the crisis than make it worse (34 percent vs. 22 percent, respectively).
“In 2012’s Rising CCO survey, social media is expected to grow dramatically and have a tremendous impact on corporate communications department budgets,” said Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross. “It is encouraging to see that global CCOs are embracing social media’s ability to temper a crisis and consequently diminish additional reputation loss.”
The leading metrics for gauging CCOs and their communications effectiveness are positive media coverage (80 percent) and employee satisfaction/engagement (79 percent). Notably, employee satisfaction has risen dramatically in importance since 2007 (from 61 percent in 2007 to 79 percent in 2012).
- CEO reputation paramount in the see-thru world (nevillehobson.com)
- Social media crisis management – 6 tips (simplybusiness.co.uk)
- Anticipate, Manage and Resolve PR Crises with PR News’ Crisis Management Guidebook (prweb.com)