As more and more executives in the c-suite embrace social media, reputational risks are likely to increase if proper contracts and policies are not in place, says LEON AYO, CEO of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson South Africa.
As more and more executives in the c-suite embrace social media, reputational risks are likely to increase if proper contracts and policies are not in place.
Executives have cited reputation as one of their top risk factors according to numerous reports. Fake news, fake social media accounts and cyber security are increasing the reputational risk in the digital world.
“As a measure of defence, many businesses will have social media contracts and policies in place for employees, but surprisingly, not at the c-suite or board levels,” says Leon Ayo, CEO of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa. “It is common practice for large companies to have social media contracts in place for executives throughout the UK, Europe and USA, but this is not yet the case in South Africa.”
The purpose of the contract is not to sensor or inhibit freedom of speech but rather to ensure the presence of executives on social networks does not compromise the company or business image.
Recently, Helen Zille’s tweets about colonialism received serious backlash which discredited not only the Democratic Alliance as a political party but also brought into question its current leadership. In addition, reputational and brand risks from executives posting inappropriate material can evolve to business or revenue risks, where there is a loss of regard from stakeholders.
On the other hand, social media has changed the communications dynamics between executives, employees and customers and the benefit is making people feel more connected. A more connected world contributes to the business objectives of the organisation. Locally, Michael Jordaan, former CEO of FNB was the Twitter trailblazer for the c-suite and was coined by IT media as the coolest CEO in the country
Social media contracts are certainly the practical measures for countering reputational risk in the digital world but leaders must also ensure their authenticity, both in the online world as well as the offline world. Whatever a leader is prepared to say online, they must be prepared to share in a face-to-face environment too. Barack Obama is a common reference for excellence in authentic leadership across various social media platforms because whatever he posts is reflective and authentic to what is happening offline too.
High risk factors such as fake news or fake social media accounts cannot be countered using social media contracts which is why authenticity plays such a necessary and important role. “Should a fake news story about an executive be published, for example, and is damaging to that reputation, a digital presence where the content and messaging is both authentic and consistent would be able to counter this risk. The same applies for a fake social media account. An executive must use the digital world to gain trust with their stakeholders and proper trust comes from authenticity just as they would do in the offline world,” explains Ayo.
Not only are fake news sites or social media accounts a possibility but so too are the chances of executives’ social media accounts being hacked, especially off the back of ransomware attacks such as the recent WannaCry.
“This is just an example of how hackers are increasing reputational risks and the next step could see executives’ accounts being hacked. Imagine comments made by a CEO on social media pertaining to price sensitive information and the impact it would have on share prices?” points out Ayo. “Requirements for secure passwords as outlined in a social media contract combined with leadership authenticity would be able to counter such a risk.”
Ultimately, executives cannot shy away from social media but also need to be aware of the pros and cons when communicating in a public forum. “People are not always going to like what you say or comment on and the c-suite may come under fire for this. At the same time, a well thought out social media strategy, contract and principles of authenticity will go a long way to counter this risk,” concludes Ayo.
Welcome to world of 2099
The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.
Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.
This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.
Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.
As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.
“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”
The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.
“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”
Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
Street art goes electric
Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.
The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.
The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.
D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.
D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.
“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”
As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.
Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”
Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”