management plan: risk assessment and
Risk assessment means identifying
the threats that are unique to the com
pany. For example, a company that
makes a product that people use every
day, such as Tylenol or Evian, may
be at risk for sabotage and thus face
challenges to its safety and reliability
promise to the public.
Whether corporate or nonprofit, all
organizations face common threats,
including issues involving opera
tions; human resources; regulations;
the community, donors or sponsors;
corporate malfeasance; and services.
Assessing performance in these areas
will help communicators identify
where their company is most at risk, as
well as where they can build on their
strengths in cases of reputational crisis.
Risk reduction means identifying
strategies to minimize the risk to rep
utation. Communicators should iden
tify the actions necessary by:
• Finding out what stakeholders think.
• Carrying out a reality check.
• Addressing the gaps between per
ception and reality.
• Monitoring for any changes.
A reality check assesses the gap
between what you believe and what
your stakeholders believe about your
organization’s values and practices.
You can use existing interviews, sur
veys, focus groups or a combination
of other methods of soliciting opin
ion. Once you know how wide the gap
is, you can then begin putting pro
cesses in place to prevent a crisis from
Building and maintaining a reputa
tion management plan allows commu
nicators to be proactive—and ready
to mount a defense when an attack
occurs, digital or otherwise.
about the author
Martha Muzychka, ABC, is a strategic,
creative problem solver who helps
clients navigate competing priorities
by providing effective communication
advice; strategic planning, facilitation
and consultation services; and qualita-
tive research. Find her on Twitter
(@marthamuzychka) or LinkedIn.
reputation at risk
A September 2013 report
by the China Charity and
Center showed a continu-
ing downward trend in
donations to charities in
the country in 2012, with
the Red Cross Society of
China showing the big-
gest decline. The center’s
analysis suggests that the
reputation of charitable
organizations in China has
been badly damaged by a
series of funding scandals,
leading to a significant
erosion of trust and
confidence in the country’s
hear for yourself
Technology has changed the way
corporate reputation is threatened
and why threats today need to be
managed differently than in the
past. In this episode of CW Radio,
Richard Torrenzano, CEO of The
Torrenzano Group and co-author
of Digital Assassination: Protecting
Your Reputation, Brand or Busi-
ness Against Online Attacks, talks
with CW Executive Editor Natasha
Nicholson about online reputation
attacks, or what he refers to as
“digital assassination,” and how to
be prepared for them.