Igniyte’s latest research has revealed that over a third (39%) of UK managers say that their higher management team were most likely to cause them a PR crisis.

Next on the list of concerns were online security, with 35% of managers saying this was a threat; and the company’s CEO, with 30% revealing they thought they could cause a PR crisis.

Igniyte’s research

The study sought to discover how prepared UK companies are for a PR crisis. Worryingly, 17% of managers said their company doesn’t have any sort of crisis management in place.

Almost a quarter (24%) of the managers involved in the study admitted that while their company has a strategy in place, they didn’t understand it.

Overall, one in ten managers (10%) said their company was unprepared for a PR crisis. The same amount of respondents said their business had dedicated resources to monitor online comments concerning their company. This included being on social media, forums, and online review sites.

Igniyte found that a crisis management plan is usually the most effective way of dealing with a PR crisis. This only applies, however, when all staff are aware of the strategy, meaning there’s a consistency across the brand.

Encouragingly, over a fifth (22%) said their company has a crisis management plan in place which the whole company knows.

Sector breakdown

The research was carried out in February 2016 of over 500 managers working across eight different sectors in the UK. According to the results, travel, transport and leisure sectors had the highest amount of companies struggling from a PR crisis.

Over one in ten (16%) managers in this sector admitted their company suffered a PR crisis and hadn’t fully recovered. This was compared to an 8% average across all managers surveyed.

However more than a quarter of managers (26%) in this sector said their companies had absolutely no crisis management plan in place. This means a high risk of negative press which could have a huge impact on all aspects of their business.

Managers within the public sector are the least confident about their organisation’s ability to fend off a PR crisis, the figures suggested. 16% said their organisations weren’t well-prepared for a crisis, compared to a 10% average across the study.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the energy and utilities sector seems the most worried about the online threat. Managers in this sector cite online security and social media as the two biggest risks of a PR crisis.

Protecting your reputation

Online reputation is only growing in importance, yet many businesses still fail to see the significance of monitoring their company’s reputation online, despite many high-profile PR crises recently.

Volkswagen and TalkTalk are two of the companies which have suffered a crisis in recent months, which has had a huge impact on both the share price and the reputation of each company.

By browsing online, people can gain an insight into the company and its services. Also information on leaders and key staff can also rank highly in Google. For this reason, monitoring and limiting the risk of a PR crisis should be paramount to any company’s marketing strategy.

If a key member of staff, particularly one from higher management or a CEO, makes any sort of ill-judged remark online, then the whole company could be brought into disrepute. The damage which one ex-employee or disgruntled member of staff could have is also high.

Recovering from a crisis

Every year many small companies, including some of the country’s top names, suffer a PR crisis. This can have devastating effects on a company. While this is never fully avoidable, there are ways to limit the damage.

Simple steps are available to protect and monitor your reputation, including Google Alerts which allows a company or individual to note what people are saying about your company online and respond in swift fashion, as well as make any other internal changes if appropriate.

Taking simple steps ensure you protect your company against a PR crisis. Igniyte’s free Protecting Company & Executive Reputation guide can help you not only in protecting your company from potential damage, but also to restrict the harm when a crisis hits.

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