Sexual Harassment Tops 2018 PR Disaster Predictions

Sexual Harassment Tops 2018 PR Disaster Predictions

Analysis of some of the biggest PR crises of 2017 has helped forecast the most likely issues set to hit Australian organisations this year.

Assessing data from news and social media insights company, Meltwater, PR disaster analyst and author Gerry McCusker predicts these five topics will create PR challenges for Australian brands in 2018:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Incidents that occur on company property
  • Issues around marketing campaigns
  • Cyber attacks
  • Trust breaches

McCusker of EngageORM, said: “While crisis-aware businesses commonly rehearse for operational accidents like explosions or toxic contamination, they have hitherto not really viewed sexual harassment or marketing fails as serious crisis liabilities.”

The rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are evidence of the new types of threats that will affect company image and repute. Both movements have successfully topicalised the issue, and mobilised people to openly call out workplace abuse.

“This is a good thing for company culture and staff safety, but not for brand repute,” McCusker added.

Monitoring the data of cases from the entertainment and media industries also revealed strong negative stakeholder sentiment across many social and online news channels.

“It’s possible that the harassment issue has been too-long dormant in many other industries and could emerge imminently, when the issue is so widely reported.”

The Meltwater data also showed the increasing globalisation of online content. Incidents occurring in one country can travel to every corner of the globe. Take United Airlines’ incident from last year that saw a passenger heavy-handedly off boarded from a flight; the US-based incident was shared on Chinese social media platform Weibo, and received more than 550 million views and 240,000 comments.

Analysis showed that while most organisations will encounter new kinds of PR vulnerabilities, companies that take action early are able to reduce the long term impact on brand reputation.

McCusker has advice for companies and organisations keen to protect their brands in 2018:

  • Start with staff – ensure any employee/staff issues are handled responsibly and sensitively
  • Listen better – use monitoring technology to find the online conversations circulating about your brand
  • Patch things up – computer updates must become a regular part of your workplace maintenance schedule
  • Do the drill – test and rehearse your crisis response plans, especially on topics that your business may have viewed as too difficult or confronting previously

Please login with linkedin to comment

Gerry McCusker meltwater

Latest News

Tracey Spicer (Journalist & Presenter) at Radio Alive 2018 at Radio Alive 2018
  • Media

Tracey Spicer: Commercial Radio Home To “Some Of The Most Toxic Workplaces”

Media veteran Tracey Spicer has delivered a grim assessment of Australia’s commercial radio industry in how it deals with sexual harassment in the workplace. Speaking as part of a panel at the Radio Alive 2018 conference in Melbourne on Friday, Spicer said she has witnessed “tremendous change happen at the very top end of town” […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson (Kyle & Jackie O) from KIIS at the 2015 ACRA Awards
  • Media

Kyle & Jackie O Crowned Best On-Air FM Team At 2018 Commercial Radio Awards

KIIS 1065 breakfast duo Kyle Sandilands and Jackie “O” Henderson have won the Best On-Air Team (Metro FM) category at the 30th Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs). Held on Saturday night at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, and hosted by The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen, the ACRAs celebrated the best and brightest talent in […]

Digital Asset Management Solution Collaboro A Natural Fit With Open Data Initiative
  • Technology

Digital Asset Management Solution Collaboro A Natural Fit With Open Data Initiative

Digital asset management solution Collaboro claims its offering is a natural fit with Adobe’s, Microsoft’s and SAP’s new Open Data Initiative, as more organisations centralise their data on a single platform to improve their customer management and improve marketing performance.   According to Warwick Boulter (main photo), co-founder and CEO of Collaboro, a leading full-service solution for managing enterprise-level […]