INTERNATIONAL: Crisis management top of US CEOs agendas - survey

NEW YORK: US chief executives are re-addressing their crisis

management plans and placing increasing emphasis on their own, and their

corporations' communications.



According to the 2001 PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO Survey, 21 per cent

of the 194 CEOs who responded said they had no crisis plan whatsoever

when the terrorists struck on 11 September.



Sixty-three per cent had a crisis plan, but found it inadequate for

dealing with the events. Just 19 per cent thought their plan was

excellent and worked well.



Accordingly, 63 per cent have already started to readdress their crisis

planning in the wake of the tragic events.



More than ever before, CEOs appear to be recognising the importance of

being the spokespeople for their corporations: 85 per cent said it was

absolutely crucial or very important for the CEO to be the

figurehead.



This compares to 42 per cent who said it was very important last

year.



Burson-Marsteller CEO Chris Komisarjevsky commented: 'Corporations are

increasingly personal for the stakeholders, and their personalities are

often cast in the image of the CEO.



'The qualities, values, and beliefs they demonstrate, particularly in a

crisis, can have a huge impact on their corporations' reputation. This

research shows CEOs see that link.'



CEOs who responded to the survey also gave a ringing endorsement of

their PR departments and agencies.



And 75 per cent of respondents said PR should be the last discipline to

be cut - out of advertising, sales promotion, direct mail, and PR - in

an economic downturn.



Last year, 45 per cent of CEOs said PR was very important for raising

brand awareness, a figure that rose to 56 per cent in this year's

survey.



And 55 per cent of CEOs said PR was very important to safeguarding a

company's image during a crisis, compared to 46 per cent last year.



In response to the technology slowdown, 37 per cent of CEOs said the net

is less important to their marketing plans than it was a year ago.



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