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Reputation management learnings from around the world

September 26, 2014 by Jonathan Hemus

2014 has been a globetrotting year for the Insignia team: in addition to Europe, we have delivered consultancy and training in countries such as Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and the USA.  It’s an opportunity not just to share our reputation management expertise, but also to learn from the varied cultures in which we work.

Client sectors have been just as diverse, covering automotive, construction, consumer goods, financial services, government, healthcare, mining, oil, professional services, retail, social care, tourism, transport, travel and more. It’s a clear indication that reputation protection is viewed as a high priority by organisations around the world, whatever the nature of their operations.

Working with Henley Business School to deliver a three day crisis management training module for the United Arab Emirates’ Prime Minister’s Office was one of many highlights. Delegates grappled with a day-long simulation exercise focused on an avian flu outbreak, experienced how to successfully manage the media in a crisis, learnt how to identify reputational risk and developed decision-making skills under pressure. You can read more about their experiences from Henley’s Client Director, Kate Hudson.

Most recently, we delivered a two day crisis management course in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  No country has suffered more in 2014 with the loss of Malaysian Airways’ flights MH370 and then MH17.  So the opportunity to learn from the experiences and views of those close to the incidents was a rare privilege for the Insignia team. We asked delegates for their perspective on those two tragic events. Here are their crisis management lessons:

1) Ensure clarity of roles and responsibilities

When multiple parties are involved in responding to an incident, a clear understanding of their respective crisis management roles and responsibilities is essential.

2) Communicate as quickly as possible

Be ready, willing and able to communicate quickly (especially via social media) or else rumours will grow and speculative comment will be sourced from third parties.

3) Speak with a single voice

Minimise the number of spokespeople and align their messaging to ensure clarity and consistency of communication.

4) People first

When an incident results in loss of life, your top priority must be to care for and communicate with the families of victims.

5) Crises do not occur in a vacuum

The impact of a crisis and how you are perceived to have managed it will be shaped by previous history and the context in which the incident occurs.

Whilst no one could realistically predict or fully plan for the events which struck Malaysia Airlines this year, wherever you are based and whatever you do, take ten minutes to consider the learnings identified by delegates in KL and consider the implications for your organisation.

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