Latest IRM News
27 February 2013
Horse meat scandal highlights online brand battle
Tesco’s brand perception was weakened when almost half of UK Twitter users were exposed to commentary linking the firm with the horse meat scandal, market research agency YouGov has found.
According to YouGov’s BrandIndex brand perception measure, 46% of users saw on the social media site that horse meat was found in Tesco’s spaghetti Bolognese, weakening the perception of its brand from a year-high ranking of +24 to just +9.
Tesco’s lowest ranking during the supply chain saga – when it was “dragged back by association” with food manufacturer Findus, who were found to supply frozen meals with horsemeat – has been +8.
The issue was, if anything, only exacerbated when a bright spark from Tesco’s customer care department decided to tweet that they were tired and ‘off to hit the hay’ – a colloquial term for going to sleep. The company later apologised, claiming that the tweet had been pre-scheduled before the scandal emerged.
YouGov commented: “Tesco responded quickly to the first crisis and looked like it would shore-up perceptions of the brand. However, the past [mid-February] days have shown that Tesco is becoming the face of the horsemeat scandal and they need to react just as fast to deal with that perception, even if it is one that they have gained somewhat unfairly.”
These issues and similar will be tackled by a range of expert speakers and workshops at the IRM Forum on 20-21 May in Ashford, Kent.
Asking if you dare risk your brand reputation, Forum will examine why brand protection is now the big issue for every organisation, and how firms can protect their reputation in an age where facts, misinformation and gossip can quickly spread across the globe in minutes.
For further details visit www.irmforum.org.
26 February 2013
Oxfam report highlights brand reputation fears
Social pressure and environmental changes are forcing some of the world’s biggest brands to take steps to protect their reputation, a charity warned today (26 February).
Oxfam’s Behind the brands report said that some of the top ten food and beverage manufacturers believe “doing well by doing good” makes good business sense and helps to protect their brands.
“Consumers, investors and governments are increasingly demanding better sustainability and social responsibility and are pushing companies to implement significant and far-reaching reforms”, the report said.
It scrutinised the efforts of the big ten food and beverage companies as they attempt to increase supply chain transparency and reassure consumers that they are acting ethically.
Oxfam produced a scorecard rating the brands on how they handled several issues: women, small-scale farmers, farm workers, water, land, climate change, and transparency.
But Oxfam found that the big ten “have neglected to use their enormous power to help create a more just food system”. Policy gaps were said to include:
• being overly secretive about their supply chains
• failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions
• not addressing the exploitation of women small-scale farmers and workers
The charity warned that organisations should respond to these concerns to safeguard their brands, adding: “Shifts in both social technology and consumer behaviour mean that companies are increasingly vulnerable to consumer opinion and must respond to consumer pressure faster than ever.”
Reputation and brand will be the theme of IRM’s forthcoming Forum on 20-21 May in Ashford, Kent, UK. The Forum will bring together leading experts on branding, including former chair of Interbrand, Rita Clifton.
For further details on IRM’s forum visit www.irmforum.org
To view the Oxfam report in more detail, click here.
05 December 2012
UK government ‘made volcanic ash mistakes’
The UK government’s approach to the risk of volcanic ash was “partly wrong”, the chief scientific adviser to the government and head of the Government Office for Science has said.
Prof Sir John Beddington, giving the keynote speech at IRM’s Annual Lecture on 5 December in London, UK, admitted that the government “could have predicted” the risk of volcanic ash causing disruption to flights before Eyjafjallajoekull erupted in Iceland in April 2010. Thousands of flights were grounded and passengers left stranded when the volcano erupted.
Approximately 200 risk professionals were told: “If you looked back at it [Iceland’s volcanic history] a couple of 100 years it was about once in every four years that you would have a volcanic eruption. So in a sense we should have known that. But the increase was the vulnerability due to the enormous increase in air traffic.”
Sir John also claimed that the Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations preventing flight if there was any ash in the air were “daft”. He said: “This was completely against science. The very fact that you maybe have the presence of volcanic ash in an air cloud is not going to constitute a danger to aircraft. The danger would be flying through a concentration for a duration.” The regulations have since been revised.
05 December 2012
Future influenza ‘global within a month’
A new influenza strain could be expected to spread worldwide within the space of a month, Sir John told delegates at IRM’s Annual Lecture.
Discussing the UK national risk register, Sir John predicted that a similar speed of spread could be expected for a new strain as that of the swine flu H1N1 influenza in 2009.
Demonstrating how the virus spread from an isolated part of north-eastern Mexico on 24 April 2009 to become a pandemic with 12,515 cases within one month in “essentially, most countries in the world”, Sir John said of a reasonable worst-case new virus: “We would have to suspect it would be worldwide within a month or less.”
Sir John also claimed that the world had been “lucky” with swine flu, adding: “We found that for every person showing symptoms, eight people had actually had the virus. So its effect, really, was quite tiny. There were a very large number of people who were largely immune to this virus.”
Contrasting the less-than 0.1 per cent mortality rate for swine flu with the 60 per cent ratio for bird flu, Sir John told the audience: “There were tragic deaths but they were very tiny compared to the number of people who had the virus.”
12 November 2012
The man who exposed Olympus (taken from The Sunday Times)
Michael Woodford blew the whistle on a $1.7 billion fraud at one of the world’s biggest electronics companies. He was fired and fled Tokyo, fearing for his life. But he fought back – and won. Now Hollywood is knocking on his door. Read the full article. (PDF 121 Kb)
26 October 2012
New European risk management accreditation
IRM has met with the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) and Ernst & Young to discuss FERMA's plans for a pan-European certification or accreditation for risk managers.
Ferma hopes to deliver a professional qualification that can augment existing national qualifications and provide individual risk managers with a proof of professional competence and practical experience that is recognised across Europe.