MANAGING REPUTATION
IN A GLOBAL DOWNTURN
Hill & Knowlton Middle East Corporate Reputation Watch 2009




                 ...
KEY FINDINGS
Identify and plan for business risks, listen carefully to           Less than a fifth (18 per cent) thought t...
Q: Do you feel that you have received enough information
about the global financial crisis and the impact on your
business...
Q: As the global crisis unfolded, did you feel that you had
access to all the information you needed?


                  ...
Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right
level of information about the impact of the crisis on your
organ...
Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right
level of information about the impact of the crisis on your
organ...
Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right
level of information about the impact of the crisis on your
organ...
Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right
level of information about the impact of the crisis on your
organ...
Q: Is your organisation holding back on releasing positive
news to the media as it is felt the timing is wrong to make
suc...
Q: Did you have a crisis and issues plan in place that
helped deal with this significant market downturn?



             ...
Q: Do you feel that having a crisis and issues plan in place
helped deal with the situation?



                          ...
Q: Overall, how important or unimportant do you think
communication and media management is during a
crisis?

            ...
Q: Which of the following statements BEST describes
your current approach to EXTERNAL communications?


                  ...
Q: Which of the following statements BEST describes
your current approach to INTERNAL communications?


                  ...
Q: Do you think you had enough resources in place to
manage communication of these difficult messages
within your organisa...
Q: Do you generally trust companies that say nothing
when faced with bad news announcements?


                           ...
Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the
following statement:
“Rumour and speculation occurs when an organisati...
Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the
following statement:
“It is important to be seen as proactive in a tim...
Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the
following statement:
“It is important to research how stakeholders wou...
Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the
following statement:
“In the absence of information people are more in...
Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the
following statement:
“My organisation is well prepared to deal with a ...
Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the
following statement:
“Stakeholder sentiment is vital to business inter...
Q: Faced with bad news announcements, who do you
generally think should be the spokesperson?
(Please select all that apply...
Q: Have you or your organisation formally communicated
internally or externally about the current economic
downturn?

    ...
Q: Does your organisation have research data which will
provide guidance on how your key stakeholders would
react to a cri...
Q: Generally, how important or unimportant do you think it
is to have research data on how your key stakeholders
would rea...
FOR MORE INFORMATION


Brian Shrowder
Director, Crisis & Training
Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL

PO Box 50653
Dubai
United Arab...
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Managing Reputation in a Global Downturn

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Key findings of Hill & Knowlton's Middle East Corporate Reputation Watch 2009

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Managing Reputation in a Global Downturn

  1. 1. MANAGING REPUTATION IN A GLOBAL DOWNTURN Hill & Knowlton Middle East Corporate Reputation Watch 2009 0
  2. 2. KEY FINDINGS Identify and plan for business risks, listen carefully to Less than a fifth (18 per cent) thought their company had put stakeholders and communicate openly: these are just some of out the right level of information to the media about the crisis. the lessons that Gulf-based companies can take from the global Gulf based economic crisis. The survey findings also underscore the importance of thorough research in a rapidly changing market. At the peak of the crisis this year, Hill & Knowlton and Real Opinions conducted a study involving more than 250 Gulf- More than half of the senior executives surveyed (54 per cent) based business leaders who were facing the challenge of did not feel they had enough information about the global managing in a time of turmoil The results are revealing turmoil. revealing. financial crisis and its impact on their business business. Only one in six (16 per cent) of the senior executives surveyed While 89 per cent felt that it is important to have research data said they had a plan fully in place to deal with the economic on how a company’s stakeholders would react to news of a crisis. Only a quarter (26 per cent) strongly agreed that their crisis, only half (52 per cent) said their organisations have this organisation is well prepared to deal with a crisis if it occurs. kind of research data. However, of those executives whose organisations were ABOUT THE STUDY prepared, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) said having a The online survey of 254 C-suite level employees (CEO, CFO, plan in place helped their company manage the downturn. CIO or similar position) was conducted from 25 February to 25 March 2009. An overwhelming majority (85 per cent) of respondents agreed that communication iis either extremely iimportant or very h i i ih l The survey respondents were based in the UAE, KSA, Bahrain, important during a crisis. Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. Yet only 36 per cent of executives believed their organisation had enough resources fully in place to manage communication of difficult messages – for example, profit downgrades or staff g g retrenchments – during a crisis. © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 1 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  3. 3. Q: Do you feel that you have received enough information about the global financial crisis and the impact on your business? 47.92% 45.42% 6.67% Yes, I feel that I understand what No, I feel there is conflicting No, I did not feel that the has happened and the information and the situation is situation was clearly implication for my business not clear communicated to me © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 2 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  4. 4. Q: As the global crisis unfolded, did you feel that you had access to all the information you needed? 65.1 1% 22.13% 1 77% 2. Yes, Yes fully Only partly Not at all © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 3 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  5. 5. Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right level of information about the impact of the crisis on your organisation for EMPLOYEES? 44.98% 34.93% 34 93% 17.03% 3.06% Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 4 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  6. 6. Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right level of information about the impact of the crisis on your organisation for CUSTOMERS? 37.99% 26.20% 24.45% 1 1.35% Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 5 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  7. 7. Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right level of information about the impact of the crisis on your organisation for SHAREHOLDERS? 37.12% 27.07% 21.40% 1 1% 4.4 Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 6 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  8. 8. Q: Do you think that your organisation put out the right level of information about the impact of the crisis on your organisation for the MEDIA? 32.31% 30.57% 1 78% 8. 18.34% Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 7 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  9. 9. Q: Is your organisation holding back on releasing positive news to the media as it is felt the timing is wrong to make such positive announcements? 50.22% 33.39% 16.59% Yes No Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 8 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  10. 10. Q: Did you have a crisis and issues plan in place that helped deal with this significant market downturn? 50.22% 20.52% 11 6. 6% 1 10% 3. Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 9 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  11. 11. Q: Do you feel that having a crisis and issues plan in place helped deal with the situation? 47.79% 29.65% 15.49% 7.08% % Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC with a full © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 10 Base (C-Suite and issues plan in place): 1 or part crisis level employees in GCC): 254 68
  12. 12. Q: Overall, how important or unimportant do you think communication and media management is during a crisis? 46.02% 39.38% 10.62% 2.21% 1.77% Extremely Very important Slightly important Not important Don't know important © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 1 1 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  13. 13. Q: Which of the following statements BEST describes your current approach to EXTERNAL communications? 31.98% 28.38% 24.32% 9.9 99 1% 5.41% Do nothing and Monitor and react Maintain ongoing Increase None of the above wait to see what only when communications communications to happens absolutely get the company necessary message across © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 12 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  14. 14. Q: Which of the following statements BEST describes your current approach to INTERNAL communications? 35.45% 27.73% 25.00% 25 00% 10.00% 1.82% Do nothing and Monitor and react Maintain ongoing Increase None of the above wait to see what only when communications communications to happens absolutely get the company necessary message across © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 13 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  15. 15. Q: Do you think you had enough resources in place to manage communication of these difficult messages within your organisation? 45.91% 35.9 35 91% 10.45% 7.73% 773% Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 14 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  16. 16. Q: Do you generally trust companies that say nothing when faced with bad news announcements? 53.18% 35.45% 5.45% 5.91% Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 15 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  17. 17. Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: “Rumour and speculation occurs when an organisation does not release information to the media in a timely fashion.” 60.09% 32.1 1% 5.05% 5 05% 1.38% 1.38% Strongly agree Slightly agree Neither agree nor Slightly disagree Strongly disagree disagree © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 16 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  18. 18. Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: “It is important to be seen as proactive in a time of crisis.” 60.83% 30.88% 7.83% 0.46% 0.00% Strongly agree Slightly agree Neither agree nor Slightly disagree Strongly disagree disagree © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 17 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  19. 19. Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: “It is important to research how stakeholders would react in a time of crisis so communication is targeted effectively.” 54.84% 36.41% 7.83% 0.46% 0.46% Strongly agree Slightly agree Neither agree nor Slightly disagree Strongly disagree disagree © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 18 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  20. 20. Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: “In the absence of information people are more inclined to think the worst.” 61.93% 28.44% 28 44% 7.34% 734% 1.38% 0.92% Strongly agree Slightly agree Neither agree nor Slightly disagree Strongly disagree disagree © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 19 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  21. 21. Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: “My organisation is well prepared to deal with a crisis if it occurs.” 38.71% 26.73% 21.20% 9.68% 3.69% 3 69% Strongly agree Slightly agree Neither agree nor Slightly disagree Strongly disagree disagree © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 20 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  22. 22. Q: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: “Stakeholder sentiment is vital to business interests, particularly in a crisis.” 53.67% 37.16% 6.42% 1.83% 0.92% Strongly agree Slightly agree Neither agree nor Slightly disagree Strongly disagree disagree © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 21 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  23. 23. Q: Faced with bad news announcements, who do you generally think should be the spokesperson? (Please select all that apply) 45.34% 32.15% 1 65% 8.65% 8 9.32% 1.61% Chairman CEO Sector Head Communications No one (make no Manager comment) © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 22 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  24. 24. Q: Have you or your organisation formally communicated internally or externally about the current economic downturn? 54.84% 26.27% 26 27% 13.36% 5.53% Yes, Yes internally Yes, Yes externally No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 23 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  25. 25. Q: Does your organisation have research data which will provide guidance on how your key stakeholders would react to a crisis affecting your organisation? 33.49% 26.05% 21.86% 18.60% Yes, Yes fully Only partly No, No not at all Don t Don't know © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 24 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  26. 26. Q: Generally, how important or unimportant do you think it is to have research data on how your key stakeholders would react to news of a crisis affecting your organisation? 49.30% 22.33% 22 33% 1 1% 7.2 8.37% 2.79% Extremely Very important Slightly important Not important Don't know important © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 25 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
  27. 27. FOR MORE INFORMATION Brian Shrowder Director, Crisis & Training Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL PO Box 50653 Dubai United Arab Emirates +97 4 334 4930 1 brian.shrowder@hillandknowlton.com brian shrowder@hillandknowlton com © 2009 Gulf Hill & Knowlton WLL and Real Opinions Ltd 26 Base (C-Suite level employees in GCC): 254
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