But all should expect them. A crisis can take many forms. It could be a fire or natural disaster that dramatically affects operations. It could be a legal dispute involving a lawsuit or charges against an employee. It could be a recall of a product or an accident, regardless of who’s at fault, or confidential data being hacked or compromised. It could be public perception that a company or its leaders have not responded appropriately to any of the above scenarios.
Buffett is recognized as one of the smartest investors in the world. He’s also one of the richest. His opinions can move markets. His investment recommendations are gold-plated. He’s called the “Oracle of Omaha” for good reason. So when Warren Buffett offers advice about the value of a reputation – personal, professional or institutional – it pays to listen.
The truth, however, is that many business leaders devote far less time to the potential economic harm caused by a sudden crisis than they do to day-to-day operations. In many ways, that’s understandable. The tyranny of the urgent can easily overtake hypothetical scenarios on any leader’s priority list. But that lack of preparation can exact a high cost when something unexpected happens. In an age when social media allows bad news to travel at the speed of light, failing to plan is a recipe for reputational disaster.
All are national or international companies whose brands – and bottom lines – suffered in the past few years because of widespread attention to embarrassing or unhealthy situations.
Most companies won’t face an equivalent crisis. But think about the business concerns that keep you up at night. What would you do if one of them happened? What if you’re hacked and your clients’ financial information is stolen, like Target? What if someone – an employee or customer – is sickened or injured because of your product, like Chipotle? What if your organization knowingly violates government standards, like Volkswagen?
A well thought out reputation management plan — created with the help of an experienced professional before a crisis hits – won’t completely eliminate negative attention. But it can provide critical guidance and structure when the worst happens. It is valuable investment in your company, just like business insurance.
The risk, as Warren Buffett suggests, is to watch decades of hard work and responsible behavior get washed away because of one critical mistake, intentional or not.
MHD Group provides results driven solutions that elevate brand awareness above the competition, motivate buyers and ensure customer loyalty by effectively integrating branding strategy, graphic and web design, marketing, digital media and public relations.
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