This workshop aimed to give guidelines on how to manage the most important intangible asset but the one that is most elusive to define – reputation.
Mark Harman of Crawford attempted to give a definition of reputation providing two real life examples, opposite extremes of how reputation can be handled. He concluded that the key to managing reputation was prevention and understanding the complexities of such issues (especially taking into account the numerous stakeholders involved). Finally he advised that overreacting was good when dealing with reputational damage.
Johan Hallsenius of Kreab Gavin Anderson then described what he believes are the six steps of every crisis (shock, denial, grief, anger, scapegoat hunt and finally acceptance and action). He stated that different people with different mindsets put themselves into any step, losing precious time until they reached the sixth step where the solution began.
He argued that problems needed to be addressed at the infant stage and not allowed to develop into issues that threatened the viability of the company. An external viewpoint was essential when dealing with such reputational crises, as the insiders tended to have a blurry and biased view.
Peter Fitch, head of communication at Lloyd’s, emphasised the importance of communication in maintaining the reputation of a business. He said that today no firm that wanted to maintain its favourable public opinion should neglect social media.
Finally he stressed the importance of handling media relations effectively and urged the listeners to start thinking globally when managing their reputation, by tailoring their communication techniques to their target audiences.