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Crisis Management: How Corporate Reputations Weather Dangerous Times

Compiled By Deborah Austin For every one dollar spent on crisis-management programs, companies can save seven in potential losses, suggests a recent report "Crisis Management and Corporate Reputation" by business intelligence firm Cutting Edge Information, Durham, N.C. The report -- profiling 35 companies including General Electric Co., Coca-Cola Co., Johnson & Johnson and IBM Corp. -- outlines five critical reputation management components:

  • Formulate corporate reputation strategy as key to business sustainability/growth: "Companies that deliver on their promises gain the respect of each group of stakeholders, including the public at large."
  • Integrate environmental/social responsibility into strategic planning -- nurturing positive publicity.
  • Formulate, communicate and test crisis-management strategy before the fact. "When catastrophe strikes -- and it will -- the last question any employee should be asking is 'what do I do now?'" Particularly good crisis management may even strengthen company reputation.
  • Disseminate the corporate story to internal and external stakeholders -- building trust with key groups including employees, customers, shareholders and media sources.
  • Build a corporate culture that attracts top talent; such environments foster supportiveness of organizational objectives.
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