THURSDAY 14 APR 2016 1:21 PM

CRISIS THREATS COME FROM THE TOP

New research commissioned by UK-based online reputation agency, Igniyte, revealed that 40% of managers expect a PR crisis to be caused by their higher management team.

This research, carried out by The Leadership Factor, aimed to discover how prepared businesses in the UK are for an online PR emergency, and highlights the importance of having well-trained staff who are ready to tackle the issue when it arises.

Most sectors surveyed cited higher management and the CEO as the top two biggest threats to crisis. 30% of managers said that their company’s CEO, and his or her reputation, is putting them at risk of a PR crisis. Yet, the energy and utilities sector appears to be more worried about the risk of online security breaches and social media comments. Over one in four managers said social media was putting their companies at risk of a crisis.

With the proliferation of social media, it seems that businesses are not nearly as prepared as they should be to handle a communications crisis. Only 22% of firms said that they have a crisis management plan the whole company is fully aware of, and only one in 10 confirmed that they have dedicated resources to manage anything online-related. An additional 24% of managers were aware that their company had a crisis management plan; however, the majority admitted they did not know what the plans involved.

The travel, transport and leisure sector was revealed to be the least prepared for a crisis, as 26% of managers admitted that their companies did not have a developed crisis plan, in comparison to the average 17% of other sectors. Yet, the managers in the public sector were deemed the least confident about their organisation’s ability as 16% claimed their organisations are unprepared.

Founder and director of Igniyte, Simon Wadsworth, said “With the internet offering increasing transparency and scrutiny of a company and its leaders, monitoring and limiting the risk of a PR crisis should be paramount to any company’s marketing strategy. Just one ill-judged tweet from a key executive of a high-profile brand can bring the whole company into disrepute, or just one negative comment from a disgruntled ex-employee online can cause questions to be asked about how you treat your staff. The effects of a crisis can be devastating. Simply monitoring what people are saying about you online means you can act fast on a potential crisis, significantly limiting the damage it could have.”

The research coincides with the release of a ‘Reputation Protection’ guide by Igniyte, which details how companies of all sizes can prepare themselves for a crisis and what to do when one hits.

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