Why planning for failure is part of Samsung’s risk management framework

June 10, 2021

Written by NewsWhip

Reputation can make or break a company, and managing it requires a lot of dedicated attention to potential risks. 

At NewsWhip’s June webinar, Samsung Electronics America’s Director of Reputation & Risk, Christopher Rivera, joined NewsWhip’s Head of Research and Editorial, Benedict Nicholson, to share the importance of developing a reputational framework to manage risk.

Rivera began his career as a technical writer whose main job was to write user manuals for an IT company. Little did he know that the day his boss handed him a “business continuity plan” would be the day his career in risk management would really start. He began to learn to prepare for emergencies and disruptions to business, eventually joining Samsung to work on just that.

During their conversation, Rivera noted that risk is by its very definition the probability of something bad happening. At the same time, at its core, to risk is to be daring. Rivera believes that risk isn’t always a pre-determined fate, but a choice. 

“Technical risks are any action that we take as a company that could impact our brand,” said Rivera. “So for us, risk is really about, how do we protect our brand in this landscape if any action you take could have an impact on us?”

Being aware of what’s going on surrounding the brand is key. It comes down to product launches, customer service interactions, or any broad idea in the landscape. It is essential to stay attuned to all the noise out there, in order to turn that into a signal from a reputational risk standpoint. He also explained how NewsWhip’s dashboards help his team succeed.

“Before we had the dashboard, it was hard for us to understand where that convergence happens between, what is the media interested in over time, and what’s the public interested in over time?” Rivera explained. “Now with that lens in mind, when we run that dashboard, we’re able to see exactly what we need — It starts with public interest and then carries over to media interest. That’s interesting and very telling.”

Rivera deals with aspects of both crisis and risk management. By his definition crisis management is preparing for an unknown event at an unknown time with an unknown impact. Risk management is different in that it’s held together with more statistical analysis and history — there is context to the issues that can arise. 

Rivera spoke to how tools such as NewsWhip can help in those situations, as you can run simulations to prepare for what coverage it would receive and how people would respond. Brands can benchmark their potential risk response with NewsWhip, as well as monitoring it in real time. 

Rivera also emphasized how Samsung prepares for failure, and how NewsWhip can be useful in doing that.

“In risk, we’re constantly planning for failure. Say you’re going to launch a new product– you probably want to do a pre-mortem, so why not use a tool like NewsWhip to say, Okay, we’ve come out with these risks, now let’s see, how do folks feel about this?” said Rivera.  “Whether it’s on the social vector scale of NewsWhip or the online news sources, it’s a good starting point.” 

A reputational framework is only the beginning of managing potential risks. What Samsung has done in preparing for the worst, yet still achieving the best, is indicative of a good risk management plan. 

If you’d like to see how NewsWhip can help your company monitor risk, check out our product suite here

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