Interview: Reputation, Risk and Resilience with Rod Cartwright

Rod Cartwright has summarised and analysed eight major global reports on those interlocking topics from the past 12 months.

Dear reader,

In the 2024 edition of ‘Reputation, Risk and Resilience: where are we now and what happens next?’, Rod Cartwright has summarised and analysed eight major global reports on those interlocking topics from the past 12 months.

Rod’s report is a must-read if you’re working in reputation, risk, crisis, or emergency management.

I thought it would be a good idea to interview Rod for the Wag The Dog Newsletter and talk about some of the major findings from the report.

Enjoy 👍

Table of Contents

Mastering geopolitical tensions:

Philippe: With geopolitical tensions on the rise, what practical steps can organisations take to be prepared? How should communications professionals adapt their strategies to protect their organisations?

Rod: The obvious starting point in terms of core risk management is to assess the potential impact on geopolitical dynamics in areas such as pricing, supply chains, and overall business as usual.

However, with polarisation on issues such as the invasion of Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza making their presence felt in people's day-to-day lives, actively considering the psychological impact of world events on employees, customers, and communities is central. It is here that the sensemaking and horizon-scanning role of the communications function becomes invaluable.

Combating misinformation:

Philippe: Misinformation is a major challenge in times of crisis. How can organisations effectively combat misinformation and make their communications clear and trustworthy?

Rod: With misinformation and disinformation sitting at the top of the World Economic Forum's 2-year risk inventory, this is an issue writ large, not simply in times of crises.

What's more, with polarisation now a hallmark of today's society and AI set to compound the challenge, the triple whammy of AI-powered and polarisation-backed misinformation makes this an almost wicked problem.

Practicing information integrity - both in terms of checking and robustly engaging with the facts of any issue, and working to ensure that all corporate and brand communication is accurate and appropriate - has become more pressing than ever before.

Technology and security:

Philippe: What new security risks should we be aware of in the face of rapid technological development? How can we update our risk management plans to reflect these technological advances?

Rod: Regardless of the technology, a key consideration that shines through across many of the publications in this year's report is the need to strike the often-illusive balance between technological infrastructure and human capability.

In the face of cyber and insider risks, which figure highly across many risk lists, it is crucial to remember that technological solutions alone do not and cannot hold the key. This is where human capacity, capability, and confidence become fundamental.

Environmental responsibility:

Philippe: Environmental issues are more important than ever. How can organisations integrate these concerns into their crisis management plans? What role does taking responsibility for environmental impacts play in building trust?

Rod: As with misinformation, managing potential environmental issues is about more than reactive preparedness for potential externalities. As I say repeatedly in the report, there is opportunity lurking beneath the permacrisis, and this applies as much to environmental factors as it does to the broader facets of ESG in which sustainability is part.

Unlocking that opportunity requires a mindset, approach to preparation and commitment to action that views risk management, crisis preparedness and resilience-building as sources of huge positive value rather than annoying, costly insurance policies.

Doing so involves realising that crisis scenario-planning - based on the real-world manifestation of paper risks - has the potential to identify crucial areas of organisational improvement, with the environmental realm as a crucial focus. 

The human element in resilience:

Philippe: The report emphasises the importance of the human factor in business resilience. What should organisations do to better educate and engage their employees to increase overall resilience?

Rod: At its heart, organisational resilience is a cultural outcome, not just a process or job title. The rise of the chief resilience officer is a sign of an important shift away from negative resilience-building.

And with regulations such as proposed changes to the UK Corporate Governance Code requiring the creation of a Resilience Statement, this evolution will only accelerate.

The key is to remember that true resilience involves your entire business model, strategy, and culture, and depends every bit as much on your human preparedness as on your operational systems and processes.

Looking for visuals and charts, rather than words, to understand the daily news?

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Join me at one of these events:

🇦🇺 Virtual Keynote, June 5 - Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) Australia Conference - The future of Al in Emergency Management

🌐 Webinar, June 6, 2024 | 1:00-2:30pm EST | Virtual on Microsoft Teams in collaboration with TranscendX

🇧🇪 Brussels, Belgium, July 1 & 2: AI-Powered Crisis Communication: A 2-Day Workshop. Book today to save $200.

🇧🇭 Manama, Bahrain, October 6 & 7: AI for Crisis Communications: A 2-Day Training Workshop. Book today and save $400.

🇺🇸 Chicago, USA, October 17 & 18: AI in PR Boot Camp: Conference and Training Event. Pre-register and save 15%.

What I am reading/testing/checking out:

  • Research Report: When Are Social Protests Effective?

  • Research Review Article: A cross-disciplinary review of crisis spillover research: Spillover types, risk factors, and response strategies

  • Hack/Prompt: Your mobile phone and GPT-4o as your live pocket translator

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Parts of this newsletter were created using AI technology to draft content. In addition, all AI-generated images include a caption stating, 'This image was created using AI'. These changes were made in line with the transparency requirements of the EU AI law for AI-generated content.


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