GAICD, MIntS Syd., BA (Comm)
Justin Kirkwood has more than 30 years’ corporate relations advisory experience
specialising in communication and reputation risk management.
It seems a little remarkable that I last published a piece related to this topic in May 2016, when fragile and volatile markets were testing the communication nerve of many boards and their senior executives.
Remarkable in the sense that three years later, the same old habits keep appearing. Markets are volatile; earnings are strained; performance is down; let’s hibernate and hope no one notices!
It is a well-worn path.
Any ambitious corporation goes to significant lengths to shape a story around its fundamental investment case. After all, in the competition for capital, the competition for attention is just as intense. The mistake that many boards and senior executives make when the bears appear though is to forget that their story and its underlying investment case is not static. And it is easily forgotten. The story needs to be regularly tended and restating the underlying investment case needs to happen again and again.
The boards and senior executives that brave the conditions no matter what and keep fronting up with their story naturally earn respect. And respect is what builds and sustains a reputation (remembering that reputation is what others say about you). When it comes to competition for capital, a good reputation captures attention and builds trust with stakeholders - invaluable when markets and conditions are really challenging.
So, in today’s prevailing environment of market, trade and geopolitical uncertainty, it’s worth remembering:
Ultimately, the boards and senior executives that are perceived to be in control in difficult conditions will be perceived to be the ones that will flourish when conditions improve.
A version of this article was first published in Listed@ASX in May 2016.