Hanover

14 Jul 2022

Resilience in reputation has always been important. But in a decade which has already seen a global pandemic, a decline in democracy, the looming threat of climate catastrophe and acute geopolitical tension, the heat is truly on. Communicators have been under intense pressure to respond to these macro trends while in a new era of heightened scrutiny and expectations for the business.

The essence of strategy is now how to change.

To quote a recent article in MT Sloan Review, we at Hanover believe that ‘the essence of strategy is now how to change‘. Our new Rewire tool has that philosophy at its heart and aims to help clients build resilience at the core so that change represents not just risks but opportunities.

The Rewire diagnostic tool explores the resilience of an organisation’s reputation at a cross-enterprise level. Our theory is that resilience is a balance between internal forces that ground your organisation and external forces that shape its path to success. We have identified five dimensions of resilience across this spectrum from inside the business to outside:  Embedding reputation; accountability; strategic clarity; power to influence and future preparedness.  The tool provides users with a confidence map of their reputational resilience across these dimensions.

The tool also captures (anonymised) data to help us better understand where we as an industry are struggling with resilience and how we might overcome these struggles. Early analysis of the data, capturing the thoughts of over 70 senior industry professionals, underlines some of the incredible work communications leaders do to embed reputation at the highest level in their organisations – with over half very confident their leaders understand the contribution of reputation to business value.

With economic turbulence and geo-political tension the likely backdrop for some time to come, the challenge for our industry is to build resilience in strategically and operationally to protect reputation in a world of change.

It also shows how tough it is for those leaders to prepare for what’s coming down the track and to manage a new communications landscape that rapidly amplifies critical voices.  Just 14% have strong confidence that they have a clear, systematic approach to identifying and measuring reputation risk and only 7% have strong confidence they have constructive relationships with their detractors.

With economic turbulence and geo-political tension the likely backdrop for some time to come, the challenge for our industry is to build resilience in strategically and operationally to protect reputation in a world of change. Using communications to paper over the cracks (or in the worst scenario, clear up the mess) isn’t going to cut it in today’s era of radical transparency.

Hanover works with clients across sectors, disciplines and geographies. Our ambition is that the tool can help our clients build reputational resilience into their operating models. We also hope that over time the Rewire tool can become a key industry indicator, tracking the key challenges facing all of us in the industry as we try to build reputations that endure. We’d love to know what you think.