Written by Paddy Hintz, Senior Media and Communications Consultant
A piece of culturally approved graffiti as you come off the Story Bridge approaching Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley reads: The more I think about it the bigger it gets. Clearly, it’s a slogan open to interpretation.
When it comes to preventing risks to brand and reputation, I think it should read: The more I don’t think about, the bigger it gets.
Sometimes an obvious risk to brand and reputation within a business becomes like Voldemort, the guy considered so dangerous, he became He Who Must Not Be Named. Voldemort was on to a good thing. Driving his very name underground only made his reputation even bigger.
It’s the same with any issue that your business is worried about. Daring not to speak its name is only going to increase the likelihood that it is going to end up hurting your reputation and your bottom line. The way to deal with these underground or structural reputational risks is to think counterintuitively and be honest and proud.
Voldemort was actually powerless on his own. Instead, he relied on a posse of magic people lured to the dark side to execute his evil deeds.
Just imagine, instead, that Harry Potter et. al actually started speaking positively about Voldemort. His power, one would imagine, would have been vastly diminished.
This is the same with an issue that’s eating away at the stomach lining of your executives, who regard it like a reputational sniper sitting in the shadows, just waiting to take out the business and their careers.
The way to deal with these issues is to assess why they are part and parcel of your business in the first place, think about and decide what the positives about them are, and then consider a way to work this into your strategic communications thinking. Talk about them in an open and honest way to show that you have nothing to hide and that how you deal with this issue – or what it brings to your organisation – is actually one of your strengths, or edge.
At the SAS Group, we try to help you address your reputational risks, find a positive way address them, and use their powers for good, not evil.