Insight Intelligence Group
5 Tips to Reduce your Reputational Risk
Reputational risk, and how to mitigate it, is a frequent topic at the boardroom table. It is a risk which could affect anyone, particularly high profile corporations and government agencies. Reputation damage is the highest rated risk according to 1,400 risk management professionals in 60 countries (Aon Global Risk Management Survey 2015)*.
At leading commercial investigations firm, Insight Intelligence, we believe there are some keys areas where companies should place particular attention and help can come from a rather surprising source. Namely, military intelligence.
So, what does military intelligence help to reduce damage to your reputation look like in practice? The following 5 key areas of reputational risk management are all improved by a ‘spy’s eye’:
Expect the unexpected. Do not wait for crisis to escalate, instead prepare a risk management plan on how to deal with reputational risk and perform regular training with key staff and employees in general. You should aim to include a level of automation so you can deliver the maximum response with minimum impact. Remember, by acting immediately, as in the Halifax Bank of Scotland case, damage can be successfully minimised. Every minute is important, especially at the start of a crisis. Do not wait hours or days.
You probably don’t know when or where something will come from to damage your reputation but you can have your action plan ready to go.
Carry out realistic training, something the military do constantly. Real scenario-based training has a massive impact on people’s understanding of the impact an event can have and how a clear, simple plan makes a massive difference. Companies should create a ‘War Room’, real and virtual, which can be fully dedicated, equipped and manned at any time.
Every organisation or public figure should develop tools which allow continuous monitoring of internal and external information flows. From this, projections are created on likely issues. Monitoring can be by software, investigative methods, surveillance, marketing surveys as well as building business relationships with social media companies.
Organise a team within your company which will be able to collect, analyse and disseminate data about reputational risks. The military use what they term an ‘intelligence cycle’ for this structured approach. Employing intelligence collection officers with experience of investigations and human intelligence will add a robust, effective winning edge in controlling information flows.
5. Social Media and Cyber Protection Responsibility
It is important for every company to build, develop and implement stronger policies and procedures to create a safe environment and strengthen IT infrastructure to reduce cyber threats. You need to include a process for regularly checking websites and social media accounts for hacking vulnerability. You also need to make sure you have all the passwords – it is surprising how many firms we see who’s passwords are left in the hands of a single, junior member of staff!
Protecting company reputations is an ongoing task. It is hard but it is achievable. There is no 100% bulletproof system to prevent reputational risk damage, however organising and deploying a professional team of experts, preferably with the involvement of your insurance company, dramatically reduces its impact.
It may sound like something out of a movie script, but the tools and techniques that military intelligence has been honing for years should be harnessed by corporations. The Number One boardroom risk needs to be matched by a Number One response.
*Source Global Risk Management Survey 2015. AON.
About the author
Mario is the Founder and Managing Director of Insight Intelligence Group. He has over 20 years’ experience in diplomatic and military security intelligence and fraud. Mario has authored three books relating to competitive business intelligence and counterintelligence.
Insight Intelligence is a boutique investigation service that provides both corporate and private investigative, surveillance and intelligence solutions.