Weber Shandwick Study Explores CCO Crisis Management

The Rising CCO IV

How are CCOs meeting the relentless demand for better reputations and risk-minimizing communications? Answers revealed in the The Rising CCO IV study by Weber Shandwick.

According to the from the annual survey, The Rising CCO IV  by Weber Shandwick, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of global chief communications officers (CCOs) say that crisis management experience is crucial to success. The rate of this observation has almost doubled since the survey debut in 2007 when 33 percent said the same. Global executive search firm Spencer Stuart conducted the study with global public relations firm Weber Shandwick.

Notably, the student found that over 70 percent of global chief communications officers report their companies experiencing a threat to their reputations in the past two years; 65 percent of CCOs saying improvement in corporate reputation is their highest priority; 74 percent of CEO’s spend time on the resolution; and it takes approximately 15 months to move past problems such crises engender, such as increased media scrutiny, governmental scrutiny and reduced employee morale.

Referencing the findings, George Jamison, head of Spencer Stuart’s Corporate Communications business explains:

“The global business events of the past few years have demonstrated in stark clarity the cost of damage to a corporate reputation. As a result, experience in crisis management is essentially a mandatory requirement for CCOs today. As our 2012 research shows, crises take time to fade and CEOs are right in wanting the best talent with them in the bunker when they find themselves in the media and political spotlight.”

Regional findings indicated:

  • North American CCOs feel most prepared to handle social media threats to company reputations
  • Regional differences correspond reflect different top management expectations: “In North America, CCOs are expected to be on top of social media, in Europe it is corporate reputation and in APAC it is media coverage sentiment or favorability”
  • Media coverage favorability and employee engagement were ranked highly as criteria for evaluating communications effectiveness for all three regions
  • European or APAC CCOs seem to be better preparing departments for communicating their corporate responsibility initiatives to the same extent as than North American CCOs

Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross states:

“In 2012’s Rising CCO survey, social media is expected to grow dramatically and have a tremendous impact on corporate communications department budgets. It is encouraging to see that global CCOs are embracing social media’s ability to temper a crisis and consequently diminish additional reputation loss.”

The study also reveals three key insights: social media helps crisis resolution, corporate social responsibility is a rising reputation safeguard and communications effectiveness is gauged by CCO performance.

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