Among many things the pandemic made clear, we learned few companies were sufficiently prepared to manage a crisis—a key time when your reputation can take a hit. In the Global Crisis Survey 2021 conducted by the notable advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, 95 percent of business leaders reported that their crisis management capabilities needed improvement. Instead of playing catch-up with your reputation in the future, take these steps now:
- Prepare For Reputation risk.
As we head into Fall, planning for 2023 takes center stage. In addition to your budget and strategic direction, be sure to add reputation planning to your agenda. This can help ensure what your stakeholders are saying about you aligns with how you want to be perceived.
A solid reputation management plan helps you evaluate any gaps between perception and reality, and identifies methods to fill those gaps. A Reputation Assessment funneling into a solid Reputation Enhancement Plan can help keep your reputation sound as you ready for a future crisis, small or large.
- Assess How You Responded to the Pandemic.
Evaluating your response to the pandemic can help you use lessons learned to optimize your responses moving forward. For example: Did you sit idle while your competitors forged ahead? Did you take a stance? What did you learn about your company’s cybersecurity, or its DEI status? How you answer these questions can help you identify how your reputation stands now.
While many organizations had some core elements of a crisis management plan or team in place, many (still) have not integrated these elements into a successful reputation management plan. Perhaps you’ve been “too busy,” staffing is limited, or the consequences seemed manageable.
According to the PwC survey, companies that conducted an after-action review were significantly more likely to say they are very confident of their ability to implement lessons learned, while only 12 percent of those who did not conduct a review shared that assuredness.
- Improve Your Reputation Hygiene.
Given, what has been called COVID-19’s “long tail,” both health-wise and economically, it is important to review and reflect on your reputation hygiene today, rather than wait months or years. Cleaning up messes now gives your company a better chance at staying well during the next major crisis, no matter the scope or scale.