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The UK financial services sector is experiencing a major shift in how it approaches operational resilience. This will bring with it changes for communicators and how they approach crisis communications planning.
Many communications professionals will have missed the July 2018 Bank of England (BoE) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Discussion Paper on how the financial services sector can improve operational resilience to severe but plausible events. However, the topics it explores are likely to have significant implications for communications and corporate affairs teams.
This month the BBC announced plans to bring together a team of news and tech companies in a bid to fight disinformation, or ‘fake news’.
In recent years, fake news has been magnified by the ubiquity of social media. It was named ‘word of the year’ in 2017. It was the subject of an 18 month inquiry by the UK Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee. And its presence and impacts have dominated global headlines.
Economists used to treat reputation like confidence or momentum. They acknowledge it is important despite it being inherently difficult to quantify, value and manage. This view has changed in the last decade. Reputation is no longer tangential to the profit and loss of a business. Leaders now accept that a great reputation creates economic value, and a poor reputation incurs costs.
We are frequently asked this question by organisations seeking to improve their crisis preparedness planning.
Many factors play a role in an effective response to any crisis, which means a successful crisis preparedness programme must therefore address many elements.
However, if there is one factor evident in the response to those crises deemed to have been
successfully responded to, it is effective leadership or, more specifically, effective ‘crisis leadership’.
Recent, high-profile network outages have shown how the convergence of people, processes and systems, accelerated by the introduction of new technologies, has created the potential for systemic failures to proliferate across the telecommunications eco-system, impacting multiple communications providers (CPs) at the same time.
Against this backdrop of increased risk and uncertainty, CPs should ask: are our existing approaches to resilience sufficient to meet customer and stakeholder expectations for service delivery?
A new Standard in crisis management calls for a more strategic approach to the discipline. PD CEN/TS 17091 “Crisis Management – Building a Strategic Capability” is a refinement and expansion of a previous British Standard (BS 11200:2014 Crisis management, Guidance and good practice) and a welcome intervention designed to help organisations develop this important capability.
Organisations store, process and extract more data than ever before. There is a continued need to govern, secure and analyse big data as seen with the impending introduction of GDPR. This is of particular importance in times of crisis, whether it be an internal investigation into the misuse of company data, the theft of intellectual property or HR challenges. Moreover, the provision of electronic evidence to inform legal proceedings and regulatory intervention is increasing. Organisations often need to identify sources of relevant electronic evidence and to pinpoint to the information that is most pertinent to the matter at hand.
Horizon scanning, risk sensing, predictive analytics, forecasting, insight. All of these terms imply some kind of mystical, deep learning, cutting edge technological solution; and technology plays a huge part in the ability to get better at prediction and spotting issues before they become crises. However, no model or technical solution that anyone has discovered takes into account the often unpredictable nature of human behaviour.
The past year has cemented crises as an unavoidable part of the modern business, political and regulatory landscape. The Grenfell Tower tragedy led to national outrage at public and private sector failures, while natural disasters rocked North and Central America with Hurricane Irma and earthquakes in Mexico. Cyber-attacks continue to disrupt organisations and internal scandals pulled global businesses into the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
The largest and growing threat to corporate value and executive reputation is a crisis. And they seem to be happening with increasing regularity.
Heightened geopolitical risk, cyber fragility and social media amplify uncertainty than ever, increasing the chances of any organisation experiencing a crisis or related event. Societal changes in the USA, random acts of terror, the rise of nationalism in Europe – reflected in Catalonia and elections across the continent – reflect a fragmenting social mood exacerbated by other factors, economic, financial, cyber-attacks, corporate misdeed, the fall of icons in the media or politics as well a company specific high-impact operational and technological failures.