Image courtesy of flickr user Los viajes del Cangrejo

Risk management and proving the value of public relations

Can Public Relations practitioners consider themselves Risk Managers? Of course, they can. Can we present to our clients the suite of skills and expertise we have in Risk Management? Of course, we can.

Risk Management has many definitions: the Institute of Risk Management argues that it “involves understanding, analysing and addressing risk to make sure organisations achieve their objectives”, while the Financial Times defines it as “the process of identifying, quantifying, and managing the risks that an organisation faces”.

So, should the PR practitioners – agency or in-house – understand, analyse and address the risks faced by the organisations they work for? Of course, they should because, otherwise, they would not be able to provide their input into Crisis Communications Plans or Issues Management Plans.

Are the PR Practitioners able to identify, quantify and manage the risks (at least part of them) that an organisation faces? Of course, they are, since no SWOT nor PESTLE analysis can ever be put together without properly justifying the risks or issues encountered for a project, product launch or campaign.

Can the PR Practitioners identify and assess the unacceptable risks to an organisation, those that stem from internal and external stakeholders? If they are given access and are allowed to do their jobs properly, they can. Can they provide the much needed leadership advice as to the avoidance, minimisation or elimination of these risks? Of course, they can.

As the Latin saying goes, quad erat demonstradum:

  1. PR practitioners, as inquired by one of my Twitter followers, are Risk Managers – we (can and should) pre-empt organisational, public, reputational and perception risks
  2. We can forecast potential negative trends by using all the tools and techniques available to us to anticipate potentially detrimental trends, as well as negative behavioural or political changes
  3. We can easily build a variety of Risk Matrices, project/product/campaign/issue based
  4. We are the best suited – and that’s a fact – to identify solutions and pre-empt the escalation of issues into full blown crisis.

Now you know you are and can be a Risk Manager – use it to show your value to the business.

Image courtesy of flickr user Los viajes del Cangrejo

Ella Minty

Founding Chartered PR practitioner, Chair of CIPR’s Foresight Panel and author of "The Influence of Culture in Crisis Communication”, "The Dangers of Being Social", "Hydraulic Fracturing in the UK – Relationships with Stakeholders and Local Communities", “Social Media and its Influence on International Affairs and Diplomacy”, “Managing the Integration of Businesses: Merging Companies, Disciplines and Cultures”, “Stakeholder Relations and Fracking”. Ella specialises in risk and reputation management and strategic communications, having a vast international experience of stakeholder engagement strategies across governments, energy operators, international investors and regulators. Additionally, Ella is involved with complex growth, transition and change programmes.

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