October 27, 2010
Corporate and brand reputations now face greater risks from online threats than ever before, says an annual survey by executive-search firm Spencer Stuart and Weber Shandwick. More than a third of corporate communications officers (CCOs) report their companies experiencing a social-media-based reputation threat during the past 12 months, but just as many remain unprepared for managing such threats, the survey found.
“Online threats to corporate reputation are escalating the social media imperative when it comes to the new skill sets and experiences required of today’s CCOs,” said Spencer Stuart’s George Jamison. Blogging and other social media will likely be the fastest-growing functions in communications departments in the next 12 months. For CCOs, crisis/issue management is nearly twice as important now as in 2007, the survey found.
When a threat to reputation occurs, the general public and other stakeholders “expect companies and CEOs to respond immediately,” said Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist, “to communicate transparently and to listen carefully to [customer] complaints and recommendations online.” — Greg Beaubien