What is reputation management?

Many providers will talk confidently about the theory of crisis management, at Gem Communications we understand the practice because we have done it. Many times and for real.

You have worked hard to develop an excellent reputation in a sector that carries significant risk, even if the odds of a major incident occurring are slight.

But do you have the right systems and competencies in place to defend that reputation should you experience a major incident?

The proliferation and speed of the electronic media means you will only have minutes to prepare your response to a crisis.

There will scarcely be time to consider the content of your first public statement before the calls start. The volume of calls will rise rapidly and there will be no time for planning. Who is going to take those calls? What should you say? Should you give broadcast interviews? What about information for staff, victims and their relatives and local authorities and regulatory bodies? Are there legal considerations to limit your liability?

If you have never been on the receiving end of media storm – deluged by hostile enquiries and with reporters on your doorstep – you do not want to find out what it’s like if you are unprepared.

How you react and communicate will set the tone for how the incident plays out and how you are viewed after the dust has settled.

It comes down to this: will you be in front of the media storm, in control, assured and composed. Or will you be behind – reacting to events, struggling to keep up, allowing a void to be filled with negativity about you.

Will you emerge from the incident battered but with the business largely intact. Or will your failure to communicate effectively leave your reputation and business in tatters, your “licence to operate” withdrawn?