UK Business poorly prepared for reputation risks, new Business Leaders Survey finds

As economic uncertainties continue, many UK businesses are not well prepared for the fast-approaching reputational risks, according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

The Business Leaders Survey – delivered by global market research agency, 3Gem – surveyed 300 C-Level Managers and Directors in mid-July 2022 about their PR functions and their future needs for PR services.

The report found that fewer business leaders than in December 2021 say they have a plan for tackling reputation risk or for communicating in a crisis. The number who say reputation is among their top risks has declined, while the net number claiming they are likely to need PR agency support in the next three months has also fallen. This is against an economic backdrop described in the July Industrial Trends Survey from the CBI/Accenture as involving sky-high costs, uncertainty and declining optimism among manufacturers.

In contrast to the general picture of weak preparedness, slightly more business leaders than before say they intend to hire staff into PR roles in the coming months. The number citing reputation risks as their number 1 concern has also risen.

Business leaders are dealing with supply chain problems, rising pay, increased COVID infections, uncertain consumer behaviour and a lack of clarity about future government policies. There is no magic way of avoiding these challenges – everyone is dealing with them, so how you handle them is critical to your survival.”

Customers still have a choice about where to go, and increasingly suppliers may be deciding who to keep their links with as well.  How businesses communicate with their workforce, their supply chain and their customers is critically important.  Having a crisis communication plan and actively managing your reputation may mean the difference between success and failure over the coming year.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

The research – exclusive to CIPR members – will be repeated twice a year and will track business confidence, plans to recruit, the importance placed on the reputation of their businesses, training needs, and more.

Access the December 2021 Business Leaders Report and the CBI’s monthly Economy in Brief Reports via our Business Data page

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