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7 tips to help businesses avoid (or at least mitigate) the effects of reputational damage

View profile for Clive Ince
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Reputational damage is a growing threat for many businesses. The impact can be huge. You can lose customers if they feel undervalued, misled or even lied to. If those disgruntled customers choose to take to social media, what started as a hiccough can soon become a significant financial disaster, especially if you’re forced to offer compensation as well as face the potential short term revenue loss.

Reputational damage can be caused by many things. Some of the (diverse) issues we’ve encountered present a very real risk and include ethical lapses, failures in client/customer service and publicly reported data breaches. Consequently neutralising every possible cause is a tough ask for any business. 

Based on our experience here are 7 things you can do to avoid, or at least mitigate, the risk of reputational damage:

  1. Build a corporate culture that is risk aware and protective of your brand then make sure all of your staff understand your culture and the part they need to play in order to support it.
     
  2. Have a crisis management plan and keep it up to date and easily accessible. 
     
  3. Make sure your senior management, HR, communications and any key external advisors are closely aligned.
     
  4. Take responsibility and control. If the worst happens your leadership team must be ready to respond … immediately!
     
  5. Make sure your public responses are informed and proportionate. Never let an inappropriate response become or feed “the story”.
     
  6. Ensure you have adequate and responsive (liability/D&O) insurance in place.
     
  7. Regularly review the arrangements and individual responsibilities which underpin all of the above because the nature of risk is continually evolving. 10 years ago social media wasn’t such a major issue, but now it’s the most potent forum for comments that could badly damage your business reputation.

At Goodman Derrick our dispute resolution team knows what to do if you find yourself facing any type of reputational damage.   If you would like to discuss how best to mitigate the threat and effects of reputational damage please email Clive Ince at cince@gdlaw.co.uk or call Clive on 0207 421 7938.

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This guide is for general information and interest only and should not be relied upon as providing specific legal advice. If you require any further information about the issues raised in this article please contact the author or call 0207 404 0606 and ask to speak to your usual Goodman Derrick contact.