Aon. Allied World.
Health.The Future State. Aon Health Symposium. 14 September 2017.

Social media Friend or enemy for brand and reputation management?

Speaker: Greg Daniel - KPMG

In an era where a brand’s reputation can be irreparably damaged by the click of a button, a rogue tweet or a poorly thought-through Instagram post, there is the dangerous potential for issues to rapidly escalate – in some cases, before you even realise there’s an issue. And with very few categories on social media discussed more than health, it’s likely that conversations about your company are already happening somewhere within our interconnected media landscape. The question is, are you listening?

Brand and reputation is the number one risk for business leaders

According to Aon’s 2017 Global Risk Management Survey, brand and reputation is the number one risk for C-suite leaders around the world. Indeed, since the survey commenced more than a decade ago the threat to reputation and brand has consistently ranked in the top five risks every year. Given the potential financial impacts of a brand and reputational disaster, it’s perhaps surprising that only 51 per cent of survey respondents felt they are prepared to deal with brand and reputational risk.

As consumer expectations for brands become less and less forgiving, companies must be prepared to act quickly to respond to and mitigate any arising risk scenarios, or run the risk of irreversible brand damage. In this environment, social media has emerged as a powerful tool for managing and mitigating reputational risk. By harnessing the power of social media, risks can be monitored, detected, analysed and acted upon – virtually in real time – providing companies with a valuable head-start to mitigate any potential risks as they materialise.

Social media can provide valuable insights to help mitigate brand and reputational risk

Speaking at the Aon Health Symposium, Greg Daniel (KPMG) described social media as the world’s largest single database of unstructured data – and therefore worthy of your skills and attention. Although it is an enormous and dynamic ecosystem, social media at its core is a conversation between individuals and people who deeply care about issues. Consequently it can provide an extremely valuable source of information for everything from broad topics to granular opinions. According to Greg, the power of social media has been widely underestimated in the corporate community and as a result, there is now a lot of catch up to ensure that the full extent of data available at our fingertips (if approached in the right way) is understood.

Turning social media insights into actions

As a barometer for public opinion as well as an incisive tool for finding out granular information about a particular topic, healthcare organisations can leverage social media to derive insights about issues which will benefit their patients and organisation, as well as identifying and mitigating any issues which could be potentially damaging to their reputation.

From a governance perspective, it’s critical that organisations have in place a robust strategy for acting on the data once it has been analysed and reported – and importantly, for having in place a crisis response plan which can be implemented swiftly to mitigate any potential risks once they are identified. Aon’s five point crisis response framework comprises of five key considerations:

  • Preparation – be ready to mitigate against potential loss
  • Leadership – business leaders need to inspire stakeholder confidence
  • Action – must be rapid, decisive and effective
  • Communication – needs to be accurate, frequent, well co-ordinated and two-way
  • Sensitivity – ensure you respond with honesty and compassion

Brands who get on the front foot to actively harness social media as a tool for brand and reputation management have a powerful advantage, and this will only continue to grow as social media becomes a more ubiquitous and integrated part of how we communicate, how we operate, and how we live our lives.