The Risk of Reputational Damage

Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” With the advent of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, it can take a only few months to build a huge amount of buzz around your business, but just seconds to permanently damage your reputation. Assessing your reputational risk means taking into account the associations of all beliefs, feelings, knowledge and impressions that stakeholders have about a company. An injury to any of these factors can damage your entire business, so it is crucial that your business has the tools to prevent or curb a crisis at a moments notice. 

Your Business

When stakeholders question the character or quality of your business, you’re at risk of a loss in asset value or negative publicity. Assessing the existing reputation of your business and comparing that to the reality of your situation can help set goals to close the gaps between investors and corporate. These goals should be set with current trends in mind along with advice from experts and stakeholders as to how the company should assess reputational risk. But risk should be assessed not just on a company level, but on an individual level that emphasizes the public image of the employees.

Your Personal Brand

The quality of your work, appearance and time-management all culminate to you and your employee’s individual personal brands as well as your business’s reputation. If work is late and not up to par or some come to work dressed like slobs, chances are your reputation will be marginal at best. Your reputation is what gets you more work, more clients and better connections. Investing your time in improving personal brands mitigates risk to both the personal and professional reputation of employees.

Social Media Guidelines

Implementing policies to manage the whole company’s reputation ensures that everyone is equally prepared for potential risks. This can include social media presence; just look at how Burger King handled their twitter account getting hacked this past February. After being converted to a fake McDonalds account and surely confusing their followers, the BK social team was able to turn it around for their benefit. They gained 30,000 new followers following the hack, quickly turning a crisis into a gain thanks to a team that was ready to act fast.

At today’s pace, it takes only seconds for a reputation to plummet. “If you think about that, you’ll do things differently,” like maybe taking the time to map out methods of crisis prevention. Reputational risk is about creating, maintaining and protecting your reputation to keep business flowing and to ensure you always have the trust of your client.

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