Managing Risk and Reputation

I attended a Brand Breakfast this morning on Managing Risk and Reputation, which was kindly hosted by the British Red Cross. Brand Breakfast is a quarterly event organised by Dan Dufour and Serena Donne and is supported by CharityComms.

In this age of social media where brands are more exposed than ever before, it is increasingly important to manage the risks that threaten your reputation.

The first speaker was Jill McCall from Cadbury who gave us this sage advice.

You need to build a brand that can withstand crisis.

Jill spoke a lot about heritage and how the brands that people trust are the ones whose employees live and embody the values of the company.

She also spoke about the Halo and Horns effect and how we think of brands as ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys’ – we assign a personality to the brand.

Adrian Thomas, Head of External Relations at the British Red Cross, shared case studies with us about how they have managed risk and reputation. One example was how they were accused of ‘cancelling Christmas‘ because they don’t stock religious Christmas cards in their shops and how they turned ‘pantogate’ around by using their blog, and other platforms, to explain why it is so important for them as an organisation to be neutral.

So what did I take away from this seminar?

1. An open, honest culture is essential

2. Staff should be comfortable to highlight risks, which should be acted upon

3. When a crisis hits, be open, honest and responsive. Most of all, be human.

4. Good relationships with journalists can help weather the storm in times of crisis

5. Apologise, if needed.

Whatever you do, never do this…

If it stinks, put a lid on it

You can read the Storify of the Brand Breakfast here.

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