In times of crisis, digital education in the c-suite is critical

posted by Brendan Hodgson

I spoke recently at a dinner attended by a number of boards of directors of large Canadian corporations. The topic of conversation was digital crisis management. What was interesting, and what carried through the dinner discussion that ensued, was the awareness gap that existed at the executive level; specifically, that the issues we talk about and evangelize on an almost daily basis at the departmental level and in our conversations and blog posts are rarely finding their way into the c-suite despite their increasing signficance to the long-term reputation of the companies these individuals represent.

In recent months, I along with my colleagues have spoken on a number of occasions to senior leadership teams on these issues. Each time, we reiterate the importance of executive-level understanding of the new environment and the necessity to obtain their buy-in on key principles of effective online crisis management. Reputation management in times of crisis is a c-suite issue, and as Clarke Caywood of Northwestern University famously said, ”Any assault on the reputation of a company is a crisis… and reputations are built on how management responds to crises.” 


1 Comment



Hey, my final paper for my PR certificate last month was exactly on this topic — how  PR is getting left behind in the dust vis a vis the new media, especially in Canada.  Your publics are online discussing your organization and if you’re not on top of things, monitoring blogs, social networking sites, forums, etc. and practicing PR in this new environment…well…. I especially love the Facebook war between Stephane Dion and Stephen Harper. I only wish I’d found this blog before I finished the paper!

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