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Marketers Miss the Mark on Privacy Crisis Containment

Marketers Miss the Mark on Privacy Crisis Containment
Marketers Miss the Mark on Privacy Crisis Containment 

By Phillip Britt
October 05, 2006

Despite all of the press and political rhetoric regarding security 
concerns, only 29 percent of marketers say that their firm has a crisis 
containment plan in case of a security breach, according to the findings 
of a CMO Council report, "Secure the Trust of Your Brand: How Security 
and IT Integrity Influence Corporate Brands." Without such a plan and 
other security strategies in place, companies are at risk of losing 
hundreds of millions of dollars in market value and through loss of 
reputation and brand trust, according to Scott Van Camp, CMO council 
editorial director and author of the study.

The Council uncovered that although that percentage of marketers 
responded that they have a plan in place, 49 percent of business 
executives say they do, van Camp says. "That could show a disconnect 
between the business executives and the marketing people." Rather than 
such a disconnect, consistency in security and privacy is needed across 
the enterprise, according to van Camp. Marketers must take a proactive 
role in ensuring that security policies and messaging are aligned in the 
organization, from the executive suite, across business lines, through 
the marketing organization, and down to the rank and file.

"According to Factiva, between 2004 and 2006, there have been more than 
17,000 articles on security breaches," van Camp says. Therefore, 
marketers must participate in prevention of security breaches, crisis 
containment, and restitution. By fostering a "pervasive culture of 
organizational commitment" to the right technologies and security 
policies to keep a security breach from occurring, marketers aid in 
prevention. One of the major steps marketers can take is to reassure the 
public and business customers that security is a core company value by 
creating special programs and communicating them via a Web minisite and 
other marketing strategies.

The report also recommends that in the event of a crisis, marketers 
should communicate openly with customer, business partners, 
shareholders, and the press to cushion and mitigate the blow to the 
brand. "The worst practice is to keep secret what happened, not offering 
people any information or anything in return like a free credit report," 
van Camp says.

Additionally, marketers should have a plan ready to help the victims 
(consumers, or in the case of B2B, partners or other companies)of the 
breach deal with financial results, such as offering a free credit 
check, for example. "Establish a consumer advocacy program for 
security," van Camp says. "The company can make security a marketing 

Copyright 2000-2006, CRM Media, LLC. 

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