Crisis Strikes: Your Company’s Reputation on the Line

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When a crisis strikes, it’s your company’s reputation on the line.

Warren Buffett once said that it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently. In the light of this assessment by one of the world’s richest businessman, do you do things differently in the first place?

If it is about the way your organisation prepares for or tackles a crisis, you need to take the high road.

Key Considerations

One of the top discussion points among participating communication managers at a recent workshop was the role of a good reputation in distinguishing their brand from competitors and peers. This is of particular concern in response to the current local and global financial climate.

Experts emphasise the value of a strong and positive reputation in weathering fixed or fluid market-related issues. Real life experiences shared by seasoned communicators at leading Zimbabwean brands give further proof that reputation management has real bottom-line implications.

 

Building a Great Reputation

Notably, a good reputation is an invaluable asset. However, the balance sheet of a company does not reflect it. In fact, companies with good reputations retain the best employees. They will also do better during an economic downturn.

“The attributes and associations that stakeholders carry about your brand, both online and offline, need to be consistently managed. Key to this is consistency on all the points where a brand meets its audience, and this includes a website, social media or billboards,” Magwenya says.

It therefore follows that if a brand does that well, it is bound to build a great reputation.

In a choice-based market economy, characterised by local and foreign competition, market complexity and uncertainty, trust has become an invaluable currency. Therefore, if stakeholders do not trust your company, they do not invest or buy.

In the past few months there has been significant change in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe is open for business campaign has opened opportunities for new players in the market. This and the advent of online media and a more vocal consumer with a multiplicity of platforms where they can express their views, means there is an increasing need to manage a company’s reputation as well as manage a crisis that can tarnish its image.

A survey revealed that 72% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. More than half will return if an issue is dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Magna Carta Zimbabwe

Magna Carta Zimbabwe has reputation management its core business, according to Managing Director, Sapi Bachi.

“Not only have we seen how successful corporate reputation management can build trust and impact financial success, it has become a central talking point among chief executive officers who are increasingly identifying reputation as their number one risk and concern,” she says.

Corporate and brand communications, stakeholder relations, social public relations and crisis management are key elements of Magna Carta’s reputation management solution for organisations.

“In partnership with our valued clients, we ensure that these elements work together successfully and ensure that their brands consistently resonate with stakeholders even during a major crisis,” Sapi says.

 

Crisis and Reputation Management Workshop

Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants will host a workshop this week that will provide reputation management solutions for organisations and individuals that take their reputations seriously.

Magna Carta Zimbabwe is a 360-degree public relations consultancy that has longstanding links with the TBWA global network. As part of Omnicom Group, TBWA has 275 offices in 100 countries that include Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa

Vincent Magwenya, CEO of Conversations Media and Communications South Africa, will be the keynote speaker at the workshop. He has 22 years of combined broadcast journalism and corporate communications experience under his belt.

His journey in communications has led him to a stint in the South African Presidency where he served as spokesperson for the former President Jacob Zuma. He also was former Director of Communications for Standard Bank and Director of Group Stakeholder/Government Relations.

“Reputation is not just about what people are saying about your brand through traditional media or in the comfort of their own homes. A crisis puts user-generated content and the subsequent online reputation of a brand is under the spotlight,” says Magwenya.

Lenox Mhlanga, public relations expert, will present case studies of Zimbabwean companies whose reputations have been challenged in a crisis. He will share the local perspective on reputational issues as well as the current media climate in the country

In today’s volatile and unpredictable business climate, where a good reputation key, how one prepares for, navigates through and recover from crisis is critical to the survival of any company, brand or organisation.

Lenox Mhlanga is Lead Consultant with Magna Carta Reputation Management. Magna Carta Zimbabwe will host a one-day workshop on Crisis and Reputation Management at the Meikles Hotel, Harare on Thursday 19th July 2018. He can be contacted on email: lenox@magnacarta.co.zw.

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