CCO survey focused on social media risk

NEW YORK: In its third annual CCO survey, The Rising CCO, Weber Shandwick asked respondents for the first time if over the past year they've had a social media-related threat to their brand's reputation.

NEW YORK: In its third annual CCO survey, The Rising CCO, Weber Shandwick asked respondents for the first time if over the past year they've had a social media-related threat to their brand's reputation.     

“This year, so many of our clients have been dealing with these kinds of threats,” said Liz Rizzo, VP of reputation research at Weber Shandwick. “We put it in the survey this year to get a benchmark for future years."

The survey found that 34% of global CCOs report that their companies experienced a social media-related reputation threat over the past 12 months, and 33% of global CCOs are not prepared to manage such threats.  

“We can only assume when we do the survey a year from now it will jump up almost as highly,” added Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at the agency. “It seems to be a daily occurrence at this point.”

Gaines-Ross explained that the need for expertise in social media risk management, as shown in this survey, serves as an indicator that the PR industry should be responsible for social media and digital communications.

"Two-way conversations dealing with hard-to-reach stakeholders have always been the business of PR," she said. "Social media is yet another channel to reach anyone with a voice, and send direct messages to one person or audience, as opposed to advertising, which sends a message to a large number of people."

The survey also found that in the next year, social media and blogging is expected to be the fastest-growing function in communications departments, as over the past two years it has grown from 28% (2008) to 41% (2010).

Weber Shandwick conducted the survey in partnership with executive search firm Spencer Stuart. The survey included 127 participants from companies based in North American, Europe, and Asia Pacific and was conducted online from May through June 2010.

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