Firms are at risk of irreparably damaging their brands and reputations if they fail to communicate properly with the public and their customers during a critical business interruption, delegates will be told at this week's Business Continuity Expo.
Rita Clifton, chair of consultancy Interbrand, said many firms underestimated the importance of protecting their reputation during disruptions. As a result, companies were failing to communicate properly, appearing to obfuscate, and losing the trust of their customers when they were hit by crises.
"You have to acknowledge there is a problem straight away... even if you are convinced it is not your fault," she said.
Clifton said it was vital that organisations went way beyond the minimum response during a crisis. This might mean, for example, taking all the products off the shelves, even if it was not strictly necessary.
"You have to be seen to act and show that safety is your top priority. However many millions that will cost, that will be a fraction of the cost to your reputation if you don't," she said.
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