FERMA Forum 2017: Engaging the Risk Management Community

Making noise at FERMA PR practitioners and the risk management community have a shared professional focus; protecting the reputations of brands.

When we think about risk managers, it is clear that there has been a significant shift in their position and prominence from being seen as a technical function of a company to becoming a real strategic imperative. Enterprise and insurance risk management has secured its place and voice at the board room table and extended externally to share beyond the pure insurable risks into a broad range of areas that are crucial for them in ‘keeping the lights on’ in their businesses.

Alongside risk identification and positive risk engineering, it is very apparent that the risk management profession has embraced the ‘dark arts’ and leveraged communication, which is clearly evident in the significant increase in profile they have achieved over the last decade at least.

Maintaining that position in an evolving communication landscape is reflected in the FERMA Forum theme and workshop programme this year. The dominance of social media - in some cases - eclipsing the role of traditional media is a significant development that should be of direct interest to the risk management community.

Focus on the Golden Hour This evolution is no more evident than in managing reputation in a crisis. The “Golden Hour” as it has become known in crisis communication, is the optimum period in which a brand must take control of a crisis issue before public impressions are formed that can cause significant reputational damage.

To demonstrate just how far the shift has become, the natural order in communication has completely turned on its head, with social media firmly in pole position as the immediate and primary point of communication contact in a crisis. Not using social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook at an early stage of a crisis can put a brand into the reputational danger zone – if you are not talking to your clients and customers through them, they will be talking about you. Ignore them at your peril! This is not to undermine the role or value of the media but taking control of messages and managing expectations through social media will have significant reputational benefits.

Who before the how Putting the audience first in communications may sound like an obvious statement. However, the desire to leverage as many channels as possible to share content can sometimes overtake the need to know who you are communicating with. The audience whether that is customers, company boards, staff or shareholders, also needs to drive the content produced. It’s no surprise therefore that this year’s FERMA Forum gives the role and importance of communication such prominence in its programme. Wednesday’s communication focused workshops will no doubt bring all these aspects in to focus and provide an opportunity to share best practice and current thinking to maximise the value and benefits, and the chance to celebrate the successes.

We love industry conferences such as the FERMA Forum, as it is a real opportunity for us to share our professional expertise and insight, helping build our clients’ brands, protect reputations and, of course, to help communicate their own professional expertise.

If you are attending the Forum and would like to meet, please contact Alex (awise@fullcirclecomms.co.uk) or Mark (mhuxley@fullcirclecomms.co.uk).

In the meantime, follow us at @FCcomms.