ACE survey claims that companies should work harder at measuring how their reputation is perceived

risk ahead

Managing reputation is the most challenging risk category for companies, a new survey by ACE has revealed.

The survey revealed that while 81% of companies questioned see reputation as their most significant asset, most of them admit that they struggle to protect it and identified a number of key reasons why companies in the region often find reputational risk challenging to manage.

To help companies better manage their reputation, ACE has created a list of 10 points companies need to consider to reduce their risk.

1 - Put the chief executive in charge of reputational risk

The chief executive, together with the board, needs to instil and drive the risk culture within the organisation and demonstrate the right behaviour by example.

2 - Incentivise employees to guard your reputation

Leading companies are already making an awareness of reputational risk part of their performance management and employees can make a valuable contribution as ‘eyes and ears’ of the business.

3 - Develop an ‘outside-in’ perspective on risk

Apply a ‘reputational lens’ to your key traditional risk categories to help understand how damage to reputation might result if they are not properly managed and take steps to close any gaps.

4 - Value your reputational capital

Although methods of placing a financial value against reputation are still in their infancy, getting experts to review the impact of various reputational issues and communicating this widely across the company can certainly help drive the message home.

5 - Monitor reputation across your markets

Actively listen to your main groups of stakeholders on the issues that affect your reputation, and learn how to use new tools such as social media to monitor external perceptions more systematically.

6 - Create transparency and accountability

Encourage a sense of ownership for the brand among your employees, and ensure that information is not ‘sanitised’ or kept from senior management.

7 - Communicate your values, and then live by them

Reputations are managed through positive actions, not just through defensive measures. Make sure there is clear, common understanding about the company’s values throughout all levels of the organisation and measure personal performance against them.

8 - Plan for the next crisis

The cause of a reputational event may be hard to predict, but identifying the right team and processes to address these issues will help your company handle a crisis faster and more effectively.

9 - Develop a multi-disciplinary approach to reputational management

The chief risk officer has expertise in risk management, but must work with public relation experts and other stakeholder-facing business functions to protect and enhance something as broad as the company’s reputation.

10 - Learn from others’ mistakes

Many of the major corporate reputational disasters of recent years provide text book examples and there are many lessons and best practices that can be adopted from their analysis.