A majority of business decision-makers in Asia expect a crisis within a year

4 August, 2011


A majority of business decision-makers in Asia expect a crisis within a year
New digital crisis communications study reveals risks and benefits of social media

SINGAPORE — In Asia, the world’s fastest growing region for manufacturing, two-thirds (67%) of business decision-makers surveyed say they have experienced a crisis, with product safety issues ranking as the predominant source. In the coming year, a majority (53%) expects to have a product safety crisis, and two-thirds say digital and social media have driven up the cost of crisis. However, only 64% of respondents say they have a crisis management plan, and 58% believe there are gaps in their plan.

These are some of the top findings in a new Digital Crisis Communications Study released by Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, and its sister firm Penn Schoen Berland, a global research-based consultancy.

“With so many senior business leaders predicting a crisis with digital dimensions for their company and admitting their current lack of readiness, there is an urgent need for organizations in Asia to protect themselves by putting into place a modern crisis communications infrastructure,” said Bob Pickard, Burson-Marsteller’s Chief Executive for Asia-Pacific. “Social technology creates the power to make any local crisis explode onto the global stage, so every company needs to know what to do when things go wrong and this can only be achieved through planning and simulation before incidents occur.”

Key findings from the study include:

• 81% of business decision-makers in Asia say new media is playing an increasing role in driving reputation during a crisis
• 70% say the rise of digital communications has increased their company’s vulnerability to crisis
• 66% believe new media, including social media, has significantly increased the costs of a crisis
• 58% believe after a crisis, new media, including social media, has made it easier to recover from a crisis
• Product safety (40%) and online/digital security (35%) are perceived as the greatest risks to reputation
• 75% created their crisis communications plan after experiencing a crisis
The study also found companies in Asia consider preparing for a crisis difficult because of the need to respond quickly, increased public demand for transparency, and the globalized nature of communications.

“The permeation of digital and social media across all customer and stakeholder segments means organizations must respond quickly, accurately, honestly and consistently across multiple channels,” said Charlie Pownall, Managing Director and Asia-Pacific Lead Digital Strategist. “Despite identifying online and social media as a top crisis communications challenge, most companies in Asia do not monitor their reputations online, nor are prepared to manage crises on the Internet.”

Contact
Craig Adams
Craig.Adams@bm.com  
+86-10-5816-2595

About this study
PSB conducted a total of 826 online and face to face interviews globally amongst business decision-makers, including 201 interviews in China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Korea, in May and June 2011. Business decision-makers are defined as respondents who are over the age of 25, work full-time or are self-employed as business owners, have an active interest in business and current affairs issues and have final or significant decision making power in their business. Overall, half the respondents were from large enterprise businesses and half were from SME businesses. Data has been weighted to reflect the GDP of each region.

About Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller is the leading public relations consultancy for organizations communicating in Asia-Pacific and internationally. With a presence in the region dating back to 1973, Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific today includes 31 offices and affiliates in 16 countries integrated seamlessly into a global network operating in 98 countries. Our Evidence-Based approach to communications provides our clients with effective, data-driven programs delivered through multiple channels and focused on tangible, measurable results. Our regional team of more than 700 professionals offers a powerful combination of local knowledge, sector expertise and global communications reach. Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world's leading communications services network.

About Penn Schoen Berland
Penn Schoen Berland, a unit of the WPP Group (NASDAQ: WPPGY), is a global research-based consultancy that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate and entertainment clients. We have over 30 years of experience in leveraging unique insights about consumer opinion to provide clients with a competitive advantage - what we call Winning Knowledge™. PSB executes polling and message testing services for Fortune 100 corporations and has helped elect more than 30 presidents and prime ministers around the world. More information is available at www.psbresearch.com

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