By Scott Davis 

On January 25, the OAEM hosted a new professional development theme with two engaging speakers, hosted at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto.

The keynote speaker, Heath Applebaum, an international-award-winning crisis and reputation consultant, revealed his 10 Commandments of Reputation Management and shared insights on how we can all effectively help to protect our organizations.

“In this digital age, a contentious issue or crisis can go viral with the click of a mouse.  So, it is essential that we take a proactive approach and prepare companies during the calm before the storm. Too often companies call me once crisis has already surfaced, to douse the proverbial flames, and do damage control.  There is so much more we can do to proactively identify the root causes, develop actionable plans, and train teams to prevent or mitigate the damage.  Ultimately it is about protecting your organization’s most valuable and vulnerable asset, its reputation,” says Applebaum. 

“Media, customers, regulators, tenants, employees, and emergency responders are quick to pass judgement, and rumours spread quickly, so if your organization is not ready to take decisive action and confidently articulate your message, it can have a massive impact,” adds Applebaum.  

 Applebaum recommends that every organization be thoroughly prepared with a tested, deployable crisis communications plan and trained leadership team that can respond at the speed of Twitter.  With the proliferation of online threats to reputation and business   operations, new strategies and tools are required to ensure lightning fast responses to digitally-empowered consumers, sensationalist media, and disengaged employees.  

Applebaum is the President of Echo Communications Inc., a reputation management consulting firm, and has led hundreds of successful programs for organizations of all shapes and sizes including PepsiCo, Cadillac Fairview, Deloitte, RBC Financial Group and MasterCard.  Heath, speaking along side Suzanne Bernier, the author of Disaster Heroes, reviewed specific crisis communications case studies and lessons learned from events in 2017, like  the Las Vegas active shooter tragedy, Equifax hacking, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and other crises, focusing on the different communications challenges faced throughout each event.  

On behalf of everyone at OAEM, we thank everyone for their efforts during this exciting professional development event.

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