6 March 2013

Chris Gidez Shares Brand and Reputational Risk Insights With Chief Risk Managers

​NEW YORK, 6 March 2013 – Reputational damage can have a dramatic impact on a company's value, and reputation risk needs to be managed with the same diligence as financial, legal and operational risk, according to Chris Gidez, co-chair of the Hill+Knowlton Strategies global risk management and crisis communications practice. Speaking as a lead presenter and panelist at the Business Insurance Risk Management Summit today in New York, Gidez examined the sources of reputational risk and offered strategies and best practices for managing reputation-threatening issues and events.
“A threat to a company’s reputation is first a threat to its business,” Gidez told the invitation-only audience of senior risk managers from Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies. “Reputation management can no longer be a function of communications departments alone. In today’s socially driven, information-saturated world, where stakeholder expectations are high and trust is low, corporate leaders and reputation managers need to take steps to manage risk before it escalates into a crisis.”

Gidez has considerable experience in crisis and litigation communications, media relations, and international, energy and environmental issues. He counsels a wide range of Fortune 500 companies and executives and has been involved in some of the most high-profile corporate crisis situations in recent years.  

Among the best practices Gidez outlined for the senior most risk officers in their respective companies were these insights:
  • Manage reputation risk as you would the rest of your business, with sound planning and processes, metrics, sufficient resources and good people.
  • Senior leadership must play a role — and be prepared — both in terms of managing a crisis, and in communicating.
  • Companies must ensure that performance measures up to the “promise” of stakeholder communications. Companies suffer greater reputation damage when their performance fails to meet the expectations they created themselves.
  • Compliance is only the entry level for performance. Companies are expected to perform to a higher standard. Stakeholders expect a level of performance that exceeds regulatory compliance.
  • Social media is a force to be reckoned with; it cannot be ignored.
  • Companies are judged not for the crisis itself, but for their handling of the crisis.
With dedicated risk-management and crisis counselors around the globe, Hill+Knowlton Strategies has been helping global multinationals, leading members of the Fortune 500, respected industry associations and international nonprofit organizations weather crises and respond rapidly to situations that threaten a company’s license to operate for more than 80 years. The global crisis team is comprised of former journalists, corporate executives, attorneys, government officials and industry specialists spanning virtually all sectors, including consumer products, food and beverage, finance, transportation, energy, health care, manufacturing, retail, communications, professional services and technology.

The team works with clients in risk management (addressing issues before they escalate into a crisis), as well as in crisis response and reputation repair.