There is a new officer title emerging that includes reputation as one of its responsibilities. I learned about this in an article on CSOonline. The new (and not so new) title is Chief Security Officer and although it is still about business continuity and enterprise risk, it is quickly evolving to include brand protection and reputation security. We just have to be reminded of the Dominos incident to realize how important brand protection and integrity is nowadays. In addition, just think about what happens to your reputation when email scams, copyright infringement, phishing, brand high jacking, etc., accelerating even more. As the head of global security at Caterpillar rightfully said: “With the proliferation of social interaction tools any company’s brand could be put under attack for a multitude of reasons. We all have to be very, very astute about watching for those emerging risks and to be able to deal with them.”
The need for CSOs is all the more urgent. Our research among executives around the world about online reputation management found that confidential document leaks and negative employee chatter are keeping leaders up at night. [I read today that the federal deficit is keeping Obama up at night these days. High on his risk agenda I presume.] Companies need to do much more to protect their reputational integrity as well as that of their employees, partners, and supply chains.
Aon annually reports on global risks facing industries and is cited in the CSO article. Reputation damage is among the top 10 greatest risks that executives are concerned about. The survey was taken last fall when the economic news was fairly catastrophic and the U.S. presidential election was close. Therefore not surprising how high the first three risks are below.
The Top Ten Risks Around the World
1. Economic slowdown
2. Regulatory/legislative changes
3. Business interruption
4. Increasing competition
5. Commodity price risk
6. Damage to reputation
7. Cash flow/liquidity risk
8. Distribution or supply chain failure
9. Third-party liability
10. Failure to attract or retain top talent
Maybe we just need more CROs…chief reputation officers to combat this increasingly menacing reputation infection.