Do you drive a car?
If so, the chances are that you took lessons to learn the rules of the road.
When you drive anywhere, wearing your seatbelt, you watch the road for the behaviour of other drivers, obstacles, street signs and traffic lights.
You’ll regularly fill your car with fuel and most likely get it serviced at least every year or so.
You’ll take out insurance, most likely comprehensive insurance to protect you as much as possible from dents and write-offs.
So why do so few organisations take out the same level of insurance to protect their own reputation and that of their brand?
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently" Warren Buffett
Given the scandal-seeking nature of the media (“Negative sells!” as I was told when starting out at the nationals in England), it makes sense to be prepared for when, not if, crisis strikes.
If you’re convinced that you don’t need to protect and plan for any risk to your reputation, ask yourself these questions:
- Can you be 100% sure that you will always deliver what you offer?
- Can you be certain that no third party, be it a rival or former employee, will make embarrassing claims about you or your brand?
- Can you be confident in the conduct of every staff member, supplier or associate and that they will always act perfectly without compromise?
- Can you control social media and every keyboard warrior looking to share your scandal with their audiences?
- Are you more experienced than most politicians in answering challenging questions from the media which are meant to test your interview skills and your patience?
The truth is, without regular analysis of your crisis planning; reviews of your draft statements and question and answer documents; and simulations under the guidance of experienced crisis communications consultants, you’re leaving your hard-earned reputation to chance.
After all, you cannot stop every potential risk to your reputation.
What you can do is prepare, prepare and prepare again.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail" Benjamin Franklin
Calacus has provided media training, risk analysis and crisis communications planning support for a wide range of individuals, governing bodies, brands and clubs and, when crisis strikes, we manage the situation to keep it under control.
You can’t always stop a crisis, but preparation and regular reviews ensure that any potential incident is a minor dent that is quickly repaired and forgotten rather than something that sends your reputation to the scrap yard.