At BMCG, we strongly believe that the single most important thing to understand about reputational risk is that the initial cause of a crisis is almost immaterial. Ultimately, the response—and the perception of its effectiveness—is the largest determining factor in the impact of the event on the reputation of the institution and how quickly, if ever, it recovers.

Poor outcomes, we believe, should serve as a wake-up call that typical approaches to crisis decision-making are insufficient and must be improved.  To continue on the same path or to assume that the situation can be resolved by “changing the narrative,” risks a response that is not only insufficient but may leave the communications team to explain decisions that likely will not withstand stakeholder scrutiny.

A risk assessment (sometimes called a “post incident review”) provides a strategic pause for the leadership team. It’s an opportunity to examine and address the underlying policies and strategic decision-making that may have led to the initial unfavorable outcome which, in turn, provides an opportunity for the team to course correct.

Our assessments typically under attorney client privilege, address, at minimum, the following:

  • Was the response appropriate?
  • How could it have been improved?
  • Were there any policies or procedures not followed that allowed the incident to happen?
  • Should any policies or procedures be changed / updated?
  • What further action is needed to either aide recovery or address the ongoing fall-out from the issue or event?