Understanding your Business and Industry

Thomas Cook

We believe that there are three key things that all businesses can learn from this situation,” says Regine le Roux managing director of Reputation Matters, South African reputation research company.

Understanding your business and your industry: It is incredibly important to keep tabs on what is happening in your business as well as the industry. Conducting regular research will help you understand what is positively impacting the organization. It will also help you to identify gaps and risk areas that are crucial to the sustainability of any organization. If Thomas Cook had engaged in stakeholder research on a regular basis, they would have been able to identify red flags and put contingency plans in place to avert the threats. “We’ve conducted many reputation research studies over the years. Different stakeholders are able to give incredibly valuable insights into helping companies identify their blind spots,” says le Roux. A key requirement of the King IV Report is the importance of stakeholder relationships. Treasure your stakeholders and they will be invaluable to your success.

Governance structures: Unfortunately, more often than not, it is a lack of governance structures that lead to organizations collapsing. It is the leadership team’s responsibility to ensure that stringent governance practices are followed and that core ethical values are non-negotiable on all levels of the organization.

Communication is key: Each crisis scenario, unfortunately, gives us a lot of crisis communication content to use as case studies. There was an article that appeared in Business Insider indicating that a Thomas Cook flight attendant only found out about the company’s collapse via social media. Preparing for a crisis is pivotal and a communication policy needs to be non-negotiable. It is so important to let internal stakeholders know first and then have a strategy in place to let all other external stakeholders know what is going on and addressing all the key questions. Most importantly, one should not forget that you are dealing with people and that you need to be empathetic during a crisis.

Even though the company is closing its doors, those executives will most likely go looking for future opportunities. The manner in which they handle the crisis and the way that they communicate will have a massive impact on their own reputations and whether or not people will want to work, or be associated with them in the future.

Our heartfelt thoughts go to every single person impacted by this very unfortunate situation.

If you would like your organization to have a closer relationship with your stakeholders, why not measure your reputation? Contact us on research@reputationmatters.co.za or visit www.reputationmatters.co.za Twitter: @ReputationIsKey