In the age of around-the-clock reporting, social media and viral videos, news travels fast. Executives must now carefully curate their online profile and when an issue surfaces, respond quickly to get their side of the story out. Knowing what to say and having that response coordinated is vital.
Reputations are increasingly fragile. A personal indiscretion or negative media story can tarnish a CEO or executive’s image in a matter of moments. People tend to believe what they read and outrage and negativity drive more traffic than positive stories.
While the rise of digital allows executives to readily build a profile, this fast-paced world also brings more scrutiny than ever before. Every move an executive makes, both professionally and personally, can be subject to close examination by customers, investors and employees.
5 Steps to protect your reputation
Step 1 - Build your profile and presence
A critical aspect of reputation management is proactively building your personal brand and profile. Key to the ongoing protection of your reputation is telling a consistent story of your expertise and delivery via a succinct executive narrative and maintaining a visible presence. This is because your reputation is beholden to the perceptions of your stakeholders.
Being active on social channels and appearing at conferences and events is a highly effective way to remain visible and relevant. If you slip up or get accused of wrongdoing, your existing strong profile will see stakeholders more inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt and make you more resilient to reputation damage.
Step 2 - Manage your online reputation
Online Reputation Management helps individuals and organisations build and maintain their digital reputation as well as repair it when faced with negative online stories and content. It gives you control over how you’re viewed online and is an excellent way to protect and safeguard your online value. You want to ensure when someone Google’s your name, they see a results page of factual and positive information about you.
You need to take ownership of your digital footprint - the publicly available information about you online. This is achieved by ensuring all your details are accurate across platforms and you are generating authentic, positive content to shape people’s perception of you online.
When damaging, false or negative content about you gets posted, you need to act. Negative content in search results or reviews can have a huge ongoing impact on your reputation.
Step 3 - Be alert to news media
In today’s fast-paced and relentless news cycle, stories are written and swiftly published.
Allegations of unlawful conduct or other wrongdoing can cause you significant reputational harm - all the more as news sites rank highly on Google and stories bearing your name can display prominently for years.
If you get approached by media to contribute to a story, it’s important to carefully consider when to comment and when to stay silent. These decisions require a swift and careful consideration of the facts and a solid grasp on the media landscape; and in many cases, existing relationships with media organisations and journalists. If you need a confidential sounding board or support reach out to us.
Step 4 - Get Crisis-Ready
Every executive will face sensitive and complex issues in their career; and every organisation is vulnerable to a crisis. Swift, decisive and intelligent decision making by a crisis management team can limit the potential reputation damage, financial implications and wider risks faced by the organisation and its stakeholders.
The good news is there are a number of actions you can take to be ready for a crisis situation.
Step 5 - Obtain the right advice
When faced with a sensitive issue or crisis you need trusted advice and direction. Our team has deep experience guiding executives through highly sensitive and complex issues. We’ll help by rapidly assessing your situation and needs and formulate a strategic plan to stabilise key relationships and shape stakeholder opinions. Learn more here.