In addition to this quarterly newsletter we maintain a blog focused on maritime issues and crisis communications, for the months in between.
So, for those of you that missed them, here’s a digest of some of the most popular themes.
How much is your company’s reputation worth?
To the extent that a company’s reputation impacts its ability to do business, the brand has a value, but quantifying this value is tricky and is often only considered after the brand has been damaged.
We hope that a brand is an asset, but brands can also become liabilities – drags on their companies. Think, for example, of the collapse of Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand – her product didn’t change rather the Trump name became politicised and therefore became a liability in many of her key markets.
Who could forget the classic Battleship board-game, but I don’t recall a tanker plotted with plastic pegs. Perhaps that’s why I lost…
Yet again we puzzle over a collision that, but for the colossal expense and security fears, might be better described as a bump in a car park. I mean, just how can a navy frigate of state-of-the-art spec be taken out by a tanker?
All the speed and manoeuvrability you like can do very little when your fortitude and stealth is blown by nothing more than being dead ahead of a tanker with a breaking-distance of 1.5km.
Crisis communications sceptics sometimes point out that many companies have survived major crises, including devastating assaults on their reputations, and have come back to be highly profitable and successful – usually without the senior management still in their senior roles (take note CEOs).
Certainly, this is true for some companies (not for others). However, surviving shouldn’t be the goal; surely the goal should be to thrive.
Since the 2018 revelations that Cambridge Analytica (a British political consulting firm) obtained data from 50 million Facebook users back in 2014, Facebook has been under attack in the media, the halls of power and on financial trading floors, and there are some key crisis management lessons we can learn from their largely inadequate response.
Fuelling the future. It’s where the blue-sky thinking becomes headache-grey. Alas, we don’t have the luxury of Gandalf’s seeing stone – or palantír – as we scan horizons for energy options. Facing up to industrial change requires farsighted investment to mirror strategy, when most anything else is mere crystal balls.
Bunker fuel is a headache for the shipping industry as IMO low-sulphur rules come into force in 2020. The dilemma of choosing between low-sulphur and Liquid Natural Gas fuel has some distance to sail. For many ship-managers low-sulphur fuels will be preferable to comply with rules, as the risks and rethinking of infrastructure and distribution for LNG fuel proves costly, at least in the short-term.