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Managing reputational risk in an activist world

It's time to get out in front

“Get out in front” is a study of 10,000 people in six advanced economies testing public attitudes to issues before and after COVID-19, and how those issues influence behaviour and reputation. We researched attitudes to and public engagement with six global themes – climate, environment, growth and consumption, global change, digital issues and social and cultural change. To make sense of a volatile outside world for our clients. We set out to put major trends under the microscope and to test if COVID-19 has changed public attitudes and whether we are entering an age of activism. In the global survey we dug into the hot issues of 2020: climate change, the environment, growth and consumption (e.g supply chains, sustainable business practices, etc.), global change (e.g. political instability, free trade, social mobility, etc.), the digital revolution (e.g. cyber, fake news, data privacy, AI, etc.) and social and cultural change (e.g. DE&I, well-being, etc.). See below.

After COVID-19, 40 per cent of the general public say they are more likely to be activist, 38 per cent classify as activist already, and a fifth say they switched brands because of how they feel about the issues. 2020 was a tipping point year for society and business. Organisations need to work harder to anticipate and adapt to dynamic external issues. For many firms, these are traditionally a blind spot. Spotting shifts in public opinion will make a business more resilient to risk. What’s more, being a responsible business brings reputational and business so long as you are part of, and in step with, social and environmental change.

We increasingly live in an era of active citizens, where members of the public are ready for change and not afraid to do something about it.

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