Reputational risk management is something every business needs to be aware of, but it is also an area that is increasingly difficult for companies to navigate. As a result, businesses are investing more than ever in this important aspect of their reputation.
That's the finding from the most recent risk report from Aon Hewitt, which analysed the major risks organisations are facing over coming months. The organisation's survey of corporate risks found reputation is the biggest source of consternation for companies.
This put reputational risk ahead of other major issues like increasing competition and regulatory changes, which ranked highly among the risks that organisations are aware of in coming months.
What's more, the risks to a company's reputation are increasing with time, with this ranking moving up from fourth place in the 2013 survey to now be the leading concern for businesses.
Reputational risk management was also cited as something that needs to scale with a business as it grows. Those organisations that are in the highest revenue bracket – with sales in excess of $1 billion – were also those with the greatest exposure to this risk.
The report also underscored the range of industries that can be affected by damage to their reputation. The aviation, banking, food processing, education, non-profit, real estate, and telecommunications sector are all areas where risk management is becoming increasingly important.
Finally, the report cited the need for organisations around the world to invest in culturally specific risk management strategies, especially if they are operating in multiple markets. Rather than developing one uniform approach, the study highlighted that corporate affairs specialists also need to develop highly localised communication strategies.
With social media and other instant online communications only expected to grow in number over coming years, corporate affairs professionals will need to be sure they are investing in processes to manage any future risks as they emerge.