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Create dedicated corporate reputation risk management budget: Astrum's Ashwani Singla

"Acting against disinformation is the biggest use case of technology. This is according to a recently released report by reputation advisory firm Astrum, "Technology Reshaping Communicators."

The report examines, via secondary research and 27 direct interviews with relevant stakeholders (C suite: CXOS, CCOs. MDs, partners, professors, and department chairs) on how technology will impact key aspects of communicator tasks and mandates. 

Sharada Sharma, co-founder, Astrum, and author of the study, “We are seeing that the impact on communications is threefold: one, in revolutionising data assimilation for deeper insights into audience behaviour; two, transforming content creation distribution and consumption and, three, an investment in crisis preparedness/risk mitigation to secure corporate or brand reputation – each needs a holistic approach with sponsorship from the C-suite.”

Evolution of Reputation Risk Management Budgets

Ashwani Singla, founding managing partner, of Astrum Reputation Advisory, says, "I see a corporate reputation risk management budget evolving as part of the overall risk management strategy of the firm. And if they don't do that, you will never have adequate response resources to create the capacity to create organisation structures, and protocols to respond quickly, and efficiently. And at times, even at massive scale and personalisation to counter disinformation."

Elaborating on how budgets will evolve with tech, Singla  feels, "Between marketing and PR I think there is a whole category of reputation risk and reputation risk management, that we will have to build into our risk budgets."

Singla added "I see a reputation risk management budget emerging as a separate category under the overall supervision of hopefully corporate communicators, but part of the overall risk management budget of the firm, so it could be cross-functional between the chief risk officer, the chief marketing officer, the CEO, as well as the chief communications officer, including the chief compliance officer. A lot of these risks will have legal and other regulatory implications."

Better messaging via data 

Singla, also shared how messaging can be significantly improved using existing data sets.

He says, "For example, I want to look at a telecom journalist for the last five years. And I want to know, what has he written about? What is his? What are the issues that he's highlighted the most? And if he's worked in these news outlets, Economic Times, and Business Standard, over the last five years, what has been the editorial stance, these organisations have taken on the content? 

And I put this data into pre-trained transformers which is what I call Chat GPT. Now, can I predict with a certain amount of certainty, what they will write about, the stance and the possible headlines? So that's another use case, from insights to content generation to content distribution to content consumption, right, technology will be able to influence the entire ecosystem of the communication ecosystem."

Urgent investment needed in talent upskilling to handle tech 

Singla, feels, "Before we start using technology, we have to make massive investments in upskilling and upgrading because getting it wrong, presents greater risks than getting it right. Right. So the first thing that people have to do in the shortest possible time in the fastest possible manner is to make sure they make massive investments in upgrading human capacity."

Use case of tech for Communicators 

The report outlined the following areas where tech will be used in communications, sourced from a report by Sandpiper.

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