Reputation risks facing UK companies in 2018

Reputation management expert Simon Wadsworth, explains the latest Igniyte research on reputation risks to UK businesses and how you can protect your company now and in future.

Protecting your company from reputation risks is a real challenge for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

A major worry for many companies is the reputation risk their businesses and brands face from negative press, reviews, social media and more. The Reputation Report 2018 highlights Igniyte’s latest research into the scale of the threats facing UK businesses.

Reputation Report 2018

Working in today’s fast-paced digital environment, brings many opportunities for businesses. But it brings risks too. Companies are becoming under increasing threat from historic and inaccurate press coverage, bad or unfounded reviews, or content, images and videos shared maliciously. And it can all be distributed within seconds, with the potential to cause your business serious and lasting damage and financial harm.

Igniyte’s latest research, the Reputation Report 2018, finds that:

  • 1 in 3 businesses (31%) say that negative content has already damaged their business.
  • A further third worry about the impact this kind of material will have on their operation and its value in future.
  • Almost half – 46% – of companies have been affected or have concerns about negative press material. More than a quarter (26%) of the businesses say this is their main concern moving forward too.
  • More general critical online content is seen as the number 1 reputational risk for another 14%.
  • Negative social media posts and reviews are viewed as most damaging by 10%.
  • 41% admit negative feedback is causing their business the most problems.
  • A further 1 in 3 (31%) feel that negative social media posts pose the greatest threat.
  • 31% – are worrying about posts from disgruntled former employees.
  • 25% say that competitors are their main problem.
  • 23% reference content about senior employees.

How Much Does A Damaged Reputation Cost?

According to the Reputation Report 2018 research, failing to manage negative content is costing British businesses – a lot.

  • 1 in 20 companies say that damaging content has cost them more than a staggering £500,000.
  • Another 5% have lost between £100,000 and £500,000 because of negativity about their company.
  • 1 in 7 have lost up to £50,000.

What can I do about Reputation Risks?

The good news is that there are ways you can prepare your business for and counter negative content – protecting your interests before damage is done.

It’s crucial that companies are proactive. Taking preventative, such as making reputation monitoring and management an early part of their PR and marketing strategies. Rather than waiting for a crisis to happen, I regularly advise clients to make reputation management central to their forward planning.

And what’s great is that 95 per cent of the SMEs Igniyte spoke to are doing just this. They’re now actively looking to monitor their company’s reputation.

Using free tools such as Google Alerts and keyword searches can give you a basic overview. For something more advanced, reputation experts can dig deeper, proactively helping you to protect from risks and build and maintain a positive online reputation.

A fifth (21%) of the people we spoke to are already using specialists tools and alerts like these and 17% are enlisting the help of expert agencies like Igniyte – up from 10 per cent in 2014 when the previous Reputation Report was published.

This new research, conducted via OnePoll, clearly shows, doing nothing will put reputations at risk. But, being aware of the threats – and planning to mitigate them – will definitely help companies to protect their businesses in the future.

How to protect your reputation when disaster strikes.

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