Damage to Brand or Reputation

Top 10 Global Risks

08 of 10

This insight is part 08 of 10 in this Collection.

November 7, 2023 10 mins

Damage to Brand or Reputation

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Damage to Brand or Reputation is the eighth biggest risk facing organizations globally today and is predicted to fall to rank twenty one by 2026, according to our survey.

What Is Damage to Brand or Reputation?

Reputation is a valuable intangible asset for any business and is based on image, trust and credibility in the eyes of key stakeholders. A compromised reputation can swiftly erode stakeholder trust, leading to tangible, adverse effects on the organization. The fallout from a reputation crisis can be far greater than any short-term earnings losses, with some companies losing significant shareholder value.

Why Is Damage to Brand or Reputation a Top Risk for Organizations?

In this highly volatile, fast-paced world, a single disruptive event can rapidly undermine a business’s reputation. Reputation risk remains one of the major risk concerns of recent years, having consistently held a spot in the top 10 risks of our Global Risk Management Survey since 2007.

Companies have several key concerns regarding damage to reputation:

  • Potential decrease of investor trust and confidence in leadership, sometimes leading to irreversible loss of shareholder value
  • An erosion of consumer trust, leading to customer churn, which could lead to material financial impact on the bottom line and a loss of market share
  • Any legal consequences, such as regulatory fines and cost of investigations
  • The potential costs of developing preparedness and crisis management capabilities
  • The long-tail effects and lengthy timelines required to recover and rebuild after a reputation crisis
  • Access to capital to mitigate the financial impact of any potential crises

Instant communication and connectivity online mean that the landscape of reputation risk is dynamic and evolving. As a result, companies face heightened concerns surrounding not only a brand’s values but also how and to what extent they signal those values.

External factors that can amplify the focus of reputation risk for organizations include the following:

  • Amplification and interconnectivity of social media and a 24-7 news cycle , which can quickly turn incidental issues into global headlines
  • Constantly shifting consumer preferences regarding transparency and ethical behavior
  • Dynamic regulatory landscapes and increased scrutiny of corporate behavior and accountability
  • Data privacy concerns from mishandling customer data — which could lead to data breaches and privacy violations that, in turn, could result in regulatory backlash
  • A new era of globalization that reshapes value chains, meaning that companies now need to think about market exposure across various regulatory landscapes, cultural norms and stakeholder expectations

Organizations must be more proactive, transparent and ethical in their actions to safeguard their reputation in an increasingly interconnected and volatile world. We have seen organizations use data-driven insights to better help identify, assess and manage reputation risk, giving them more informed ways of understanding the impact of this type of risk.

Losses and preparedness

8 percent of respondents stated they suffered a loss due to damage to brand or reputation, with half having plans in place to respond to the risk.

  • 8%

    of respondents indicated this risk contributed to a loss for their organization in the 12 months prior to the survey.

    Source: Aon's 2023 Global Risk Management Survey

  • 51%

    of respondents stated their organizations had set up a plan to respond to risk.

    Source: Aon's 2023 Global Risk Management Survey

How Can Organizations Mitigate the Impact of Damage to Brand or Reputation?

Organizations are adopting a range of strategies and approaches to mitigate reputation risk. Aon has drawn on its research of reputation-related events over the past 40 years to analyze reputation risk’s effects on long-term future cash flows.

The top approaches that successful companies use to safeguard their image, maintain stakeholder trust and navigate dynamic reputational challenges can be divided into pre- and post-event strategies.

  • Proactive reputation risk management. Use a comprehensive approach to identify, assess and prepare for potential significant reputation risk events. Integrate reputation risk considerations into overall risk management strategies and decision-making processes to drive reputation resilience.
  • Targeted stakeholder management. Communicate openly with customers, employees, investors and regulators to address concerns and maintain trust.
  • Social media monitoring. Employ advanced tools to track sentiment and trends across various media platforms.
  • Collaboration with subject matter experts. Leverage insights from PR firms, legal teams, cyber-security experts and crisis management professionals to address complex reputation challenges.
  • Constant learning and improvement. Use analysis of past reputation incidents to refine strategies and approaches over time.
  • Established crisis management procedures. Outline roles, responsibilities, communication protocols and strategies for responding to different types of reputation-damaging events.
  • Prepared rapid response. Formulate accurate and clear messaging to prevent misinformation from spreading.
  • Transparency, authenticity and accountability. Acknowledge mistakes and make a commitment to learning from them. Avoid misleading or insincere communication.



Damage to Brand or Reputation has fallen three ranks compared to our previous survey.

Source: Aon's 2023 Global Risk Management Survey

General Disclaimer
This document is not intended to address any specific situation or to provide legal, regulatory, financial, or other advice. While care has been taken in the production of this document, Aon does not warrant, represent, or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the document or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss caused by reliance on it. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. This document has been compiled using information available to us up to its date of publication and is subject to any qualifications made in the document.

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