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Crisis Management Trends Into 2023

December 14, 2022

It’s that time of the year when many marketing and public relations consultants make bold, and frequently highly speculative predictions about trends they think will get some momentum in 2023. So, here’s some crystal ball gazing from Aprio Credence on a few crisis and reputation management trends that we predict (and hope) will get some traction in the new year:


1. Cyber-attacks will remain the biggest threat facing enterprises in 2023


You are assailed virtually daily with scary cyber data. Cybercrimes will cost the global economy $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. The latest ransomware is reported to be close to 60 times more destructive than the ransomware of 2015. Aprio Credence’s annual research confirms that cybercrime is perceived to be the most prevalent risk among our biggest listed enterprises. How prepared is your company to mitigate the reputation risks of a cyber-attack in 2023?


2. ESG-related risk will be the most prevalent actual source of reputational crises for South African enterprises in 2023


Aprio Credence’s annual research shows that ESG risk was the fast growing enterprise risk category over the past three years. Global research, and our own experience of advising on more than 400 crises, confirms that most crises have their roots “inside the building” – they are management and employee misconduct issues. ESG might be the popular new label for these sorts of risks, but Aprio Credence believes most of our crisis management advisory work in 2023 will continue to be focused on the “social” and “governance” elements of ESG such as incidents of alleged racism, sexual harassment, fraud, unethical conduct, poor corporate governance and the like – as it has been for more than 15 years.


3. More enterprises will invest in single-issue crisis management playbooks for their high-probability/high-impact risks


We are seeing growing corporate awareness of the value of investing in a series of single-issue crisis management “playbooks” for their top reputational risks – from cyber-attacks, regulator interventions, workplace fatalities or kidnapping for ransom, through to executive misconduct, engineering failures, or sponsorship controversies. Our playbook “order book” for 2023 is already filling up, with a range of different types of potential crises for which clients want to develop detailed response plans.


4. Reputation management expertise will (slowly) start to have a seat at the boardroom table


It has long been the complaint of reputation management specialists that they don’t have a seat at the crisis leadership table. Aprio Credence has seen a slow but steady shift in the way Boards and C-suites view and treat the discipline of professional reputation management – and we anticipate that with the rise of ESG as a top tier risk dimension reputational capital will increasingly be viewed as a highly valuable strategic asset in 2023.


5. Sadly, many enterprises will continue to maintain a “it will never happen to us” posture when it comes to investing in crisis preparedness and reputation resilience in 2023


Our final trend may sound flippant, but the reality is that in 2023 we still expect to see many big enterprises continue with a posture of “We don’t need to invest in crisis preparedness and resilience, because it will never happen to us.” At Aprio Credence, we would love to see more organisations take reputation management seriously, build greater crisis preparedness, skills and structures, have world-class playbooks and protocols in place, and stress test them regularly through simulations and other exercise. But the reality is that such crisis-ready organisations will continue to be in the minority in 2023.


To find out more about Aprio Credence’s service offering, including crisis preparedness training and world-class playbooks, please contact Esme Arendse on esme@aprio.co.za or Alan Arguile on alan@aprio.co.za

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