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Risk gets a new face in the age of social

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A reputational crisis can wipe out tens of millions of Rands from a company’s value. writes CHRISTELLE MARAIS, practice leader of enterprise risk management at Marsh Africa 

According to a study by the World Economic Forum, an average of more than 25 percent of a company’s market value is directly attributable to its reputation. This means that a reputational crisis can wipe out tens of millions of Rands from a company’s value. This risk has increased because the rise of online and social media means crises are now less predictable, can occur faster and with a more drastic impact. 

Companies are aware of the potential dangers that could negatively affect their reputations, but never have those dangers been as pervasive and immediate as they are right now.

As organisations strive to upskill their workforces and encourage responsible decision-making at all levels, the risk of immediate publication, financial flows and business impact increase with the use of technology, even if such activities are executed in good faith. This is why business leaders need to understand the importance of their companies’ reputations. From an employment perspective, organisations with strong positive reputations attract and retain better skills and are therefore perceived as providing more value, which allows them to charge a premium for their products and services. They also attract a more loyal customer base that is open to a wider variety of products and services from the firm.

Enabled by transformation and growth in the internet and mobile communications systems, global economic activity has grown exponentially over the last few decades. However, companies, and in turn brands, are constantly vulnerable to reputational risks that can arise from virtually anywhere, be it factors as diverse as product quality, social media, environmental impact, employee malpractice and outsourcing. Reputational risk has now become a potential threat on par with new competition, technology failures, talent issues and changing regulations.

Yet, there are still organisations that do not consider reputation management until disaster strikes. The job of managing reputations in general is mostly done when the company’s reputation has been affected negatively. Dealing with threats to your organisation’s reputation once it has already surfaced is crisis management, a reactive approach aimed at limiting damage, not risk management in terms of reputation.

Perhaps the greatest risk worth noting is the reputational risk in the age of social media. Before the advent of social media, the focus remained on risk avoidance or minimising asset or financial losses. Today, with over half of the world’s population connected to the Internet, companies need to relate enterprise reputation matters to strategic outcomes. In a world increasingly influenced by social media and instant global communications, managing customer expectations and perceptions is critical to success.

The use of social media by organisations to communicate its goods and services is augmented by the need for modern society to connect with the organisations they purchase from. At Marsh we offer risk management maturity and risk management culture surveys and implementation plans, informed by an organisation’s life-cycle position and its future aspirations. With effective support from organisations, these programmes align employee behaviour with strategy, organisational performance and risk management objectives, thereby empowering employees to make the right decisions when it comes to executing operational and financial activities as well as to communicate responsibly about their organisations.

Warren Buffett famously said that “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. It’s no wonder that reputation is commonly referred to as a company’s most valuable asset. Reputation is not simply about a balance sheet, service offerings, social responsibility, or even corporate communications, marketing, and public relations – reputation is all of these and more.

Well embedded risk management and continuity management processes will prepare organisations to respond effectively in the limited time available to respond.

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SAFTA awards get first streaming video nominees

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The 2019 nominations for The South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) were announced late last week, and for the first time in the 13-year history of the awards, a TV series produced for a video-on-demand service was in contention. The result was a surprise boost to streaming service Showmax.

The comedy series Tali’s Wedding Diary, which premiered in December 2017, represented a major step for the then two-year old streaming service. It was the debut Showmax Original, the first time Showmax ventured into producing its own content. The gamble paid off, with the show becoming the most watched of any series on its first day on Showmax, and now Tali’s Wedding Diary has been further recognised with seven SAFTA nominations, making it this year’s most nominated comedy.

“When we first floated the idea of Tali’s Wedding Diary, we joked about winning awards,” says Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content. “At that point, just getting our first Showmax Original off the ground was already a major challenge and it was more than we could hope for to actually hit it out of the park. I was stunned when I heard the news about the nominations – it’s amazing to be considered in the same company as these other shows and thanks to this we’re already seeing a fresh spike in Tali views.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary was also a first for co-creator and star Julia Anastasopoulos, who until then was best known as YouTube star SuzelleDIY. “I am so thrilled about the SAFTA nominations for Tali’s Wedding Diary,” says Julia, who is up for Best Actress – TV Comedy and Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy, along with her husband Ari Kruger and Daniel Zimbler. 

“It was such a big and daunting step to create a full TV comedy series and intro a brand-new character. I really didn’t know how it would be received and am so happy to have received such positive feedback for the show and the Tali Babes character, along with the nominations. It feels so good to be recognised for something we poured our hearts into. None of it would have been possible, of course, without the incredible hard work and vision of my husband Ari and the incredible team, cast and crew that were part of the show. And a huge thank you to Showmax of course for making it all possible. Congratulations and best of luck to the entire team and to all the other nominees.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary is a mockumentary that follows Tali, a self-obsessed Joburg princess who’s moved to Cape Town and is planning her wedding to property-agent fiancé Darren (Anton Taylor). The series was inspired by Julia’s own wedding to Ari, her SuzelleDIY and Tali’s Wedding Diary co-creator, who is also up for Best Achievement In Directing – TV Comedy.  

In addition to Julia and Ari’s nominations, Tali’s Wedding Diary is up for Best TV Comedy, Art Direction (Keren Setton),  Cinematography (James Adey), and Editing (Richard Starkey). Winners will be announced on 2 March 2019 at Sun City Superbowl.

Following the success of Tali’s Wedding Diary, the second Showmax Original, The Girl From St Agnes, was released earlier this month. A third Showmax Original, Trippin With Skhumba, is slated for release at the end of February.

“With three Showmax Originals now under our belt and more on the way, we’d like to think this is the start of many more SAFTA nominations for shows from a streaming service,” concludes Candice.

South African content currently on Showmax has 110 nominations and includes the most nominated movie (Five Fingers With Marseilles), telenovela (The River), drama (Lockdown) and soap (Isibaya), with more SAFTA nominees scheduled for the coming months.

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Ford begins production of high-tech Ranger in SA

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Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria has officially commenced production of the new Ford Ranger, bringing a raft of product upgrades and refinements to one of South Africa’s best-selling vehicles and export models.

“Following the investment of over R3-billion in our local operations and extensive upgrades to our plants over the past 18 months, we are delighted to see the first of the new Ford Ranger models coming off our production line,” says Neale Hill, managing director for Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.

“This is an extremely important and exciting year for the Ford Ranger, which will also see the launch of the first Ranger Raptor that is undoubtedly one of this year’s most highly anticipated new models,” says Hill.

“The 2019 Ford Ranger will deliver more power, greater fuel efficiency, enhanced refinement, and additional advanced technologies when it goes on sale in the coming months, and we are confident it will once again set the benchmark in the extremely competitive pickup segment.”

Selected range-topping models, including the Ranger Raptor, will be powered by the all-new 2.0 Bi-Turbo diesel engine assembled at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth. This unit produces 157kW and 500Nm of torque – up by 10kW and 30Nm compared with the current 3.2 TDCi – and delivers up to a nine percent improvement in fuel efficiency when combined with the advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Certain derivatives will feature a 2.0 Single Turbo version of this engine, producing 132kW and 420Nm of torque, mated to the same 10-speed transmission. Various other models in the line-up will retain the proven 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines and existing gearbox options – thus giving customers the widest choice yet in this category. As usual, the line-up includes Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab body styles to suit customer requirements.

Along with freshened design cues, range-topping Ranger models will raise the bar once again with industry-defining safety features on the Wildtrak such as Pre-Collision Assist and Active Park Assist. SYNC 3® with Navigation remains one of the Ranger’s technology highlights as a fully featured infotainment system with intuitive voice control.

Following the launch of the ‘standard’ new Ford Ranger models, the attention will be shifted to the locally assembled Ranger Raptor that is set to create an entirely new segment in the pickup market when it makes its eagerly anticipated debut.

“There is a lot of excitement and hype around the Ranger Raptor, and this exhilarating new model will occupy a white space in the pickup market when it goes on sale in the second quarter of this year, creating a much-needed performance model in this crucial segment,” Hill states.

“We can’t wait to get the Ranger Raptor to market, enabling our customers to experience unrivalled off-road performance, cutting-edge technologies and the most muscular design yet seen in this class.”

Some of the defining features of the Ranger Raptor include Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers exclusively manufactured by FOX, and an advanced Terrain Management System (TMS) that includes an exciting Baja mode for fast off-road driving. It also boasts a toughened reinforced chassis, powerful all-disc braking system and specially developed BF Goodrich tyres.

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