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Biggest threat of a PR crisis comes from higher management team – UK managers say

Similarly, 30% said that their company’s CEO is putting them at risk, demonstrating the importance of managing and protecting the reputation of key executives within a company.

The research

commissioned the research in February this year on 508 managers working across eight sectors in the UK, to discover how prepared companies are for a PR crisis and where they see the biggest threats.

The research revealed some interesting statistics about where different sectors see the threats and how prepared they are.

Online reputation managementFor example, the travel, transport & leisure sector appeared to be the least prepared for a crisis, with over a quarter (26%) of managers in this sector admitting that their company didn’t have a crisis management plan in place.

This was surprising as this sector had the most amount of managers admitting that their company had suffered a PR crisis and not yet fully recovered (16%, compared to an 8% all sector average).

Key takeaways

Here are some of the key takeaways from the research:

  • The biggest threats to a PR crisis across all managers were cited as:
    • Higher management
    • Online security
    • The CEO
  • Over a quarter of managers (27%) also said that social media was putting them at risk of a crisis.
  • Almost 1 in 4 (24%) of managers admitted that their companies had a crisis management plan in place, but that they didn’t know what it involves.
  • 17% of managers said their company doesn’t even have a crisis management plan.
  • 1 in 10 managers (10%) said they didn’t think their company was well prepared for a crisis.
  • Managers working within the public sector were least confident about their ability to fend off a PR crisis, with 16% saying their organisation’s weren’t well prepared, compared to a 10% all sector average.
  • The energy & utilities sector were perhaps the most worried about the online threat, with managers in this sector citing online security and social media as the two biggest risks.

A reputation crisis

A PR crisis can have a long-lasting effect on a company, affecting everything from sales to recruitment. Recent high-profile crises experienced by the likes of Volkswagen and TalkTalk have seen drops in share price and damaged reputations, highlighting the business impact a crisis can have.

With the internet increasing the transparency of a company, all it takes is one ill-judged tweet by a key executive of a well-known brand or a scathing comment from an unhappy customer, to bring a company’s reputation to the fore.

A crisis isn’t completely avoidable, but you can certainly limit the chances of one happening if the right plans and processes are implemented.

At Igniyte, we’ve outlined how companies can monitor and protect their reputation online, something which should be a key business priority.

You can download our Protecting Company & Executive Reputation guide for free here.

If you’d like to discuss how you can better protect your reputation and manage the online conversation about brand, feel free to get in touch with me at on +44(0)203 542 8689.


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