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GRC Tuesdays: The Critical Role of Marketing Executives in the Risk Management Process

From my experience, marketing executives are often involved in the risk management process quite late, usually to manage the communication aspect of a crisis, therefore only when the risk has transformed into a critical incident and that the company is in a defensive mode.

I strongly believe that marketing executives can bring a lot to the table for a proactive risk management approach to notably help in monitoring the reputational risk and protect the brand from adverse events.

As we all know, communication channels have exponentially expanded in the last few years to reach volumes that can no longer be monitored manually.

What people say about products, services and brands is all over the place and this actually represents a real threat to a company’s reputation and could impact its sales: founded or not, negative opinions can seriously influence buyers’ decisions.

Furthermore, new opinion leaders emerge rapidly; identifying and then following them all can prove cumbersome to say the least.

Coupling risk management techniques to new sentiment intelligence solutions could just be one of the right options to enable appropriate reactions on emerging social trends: monitoring the global sentiment and being able to drill-down to the source to understand the people’s comments and respond effectively to concerns or demands is now possible, even on these large volumes of unstructured data.

Therefore, defining indicators that will automatically pull these social sentiments and notify the marketing executive that, somewhere in the world, a negative opinion is forming can help to make the right decision: communication/explanation campaign in case this is simply a misunderstanding or an attack on the company, or even preventive product recall in worst cases.

This can not only protect the company’s reputation and even prevent a crisis from occurring but can also show dedication to consumers’ opinion and reinforce positive perceptions about the brand.

Also on a positive aspect – I always see risk management with 2 sides of a coin: mitigating threats but also leveraging opportunities – this can even help in identifying new improvements requested and potentially new applications for products already in market.

In essence, I really think that companies should involve all departments of course, but especially their marketing executives to put together plans to manage the risks relating to brand, image and reputation. In practice, most risks actually inherently carry to some extent a reputational impact: improper business or market practices, business disruptions, quality issues, regulatory non-compliance, etc. so the scope of this involvement is rather large and not limited to a single risk typology!

If you are a risk or a marketing professional, have you already taken this route, and if yes, what is your feedback? I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments either on this blog or on Twitter @TFrenehard

Originally published on the SAP Analytics Blog

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