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.
Donate online for the Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes!