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Strategic legal advice takes account of processes and issues. Issue Management enables an integrative, international and interdisciplinary approach to these dimensions of problem-solving.

One example: Reputation Management

An example of such a field, and a sub-area of issue management is Reputation Management. Since my return from Cambridge, Mass. in the summer of 1999, Jens Drolshammer have worked with Prof. Walter von Wartburg in this area, which centers on the good reputation of companies as a core value and factor for success. The issue is as follows:

With globalization, the convergence of communications technologies, the spread of the media and increased legal exposure internationally, the need for top management to deal professionally with the perceptions of and expectations towards key people and the company as a whole has increased. In today’s environment, unfulfilled expectations and perceptions very quickly turn into – negative – realities.

These days, risk management for companies and organizations is not confined to financial and material issues. Increasingly, it is about preserving essential values such as the good name of corporations, organizations, names, and brands. When corporations are assessed by financial analysts, it is not just the figures that are important: corporate reputation plays an ever more significant role.

Corporate assessors tend to talk about brand value, corporate citizenship and the relationship with key interest groups, all of which are combined into a “good-will factor” which goes beyond the traditional assessment of a company.

Several analysts now support the idea of a recognized “reputation value index“ which would allow a comparative and rational determination of the degree to which a company’s good name is exposed. The reputation of the top management and the company is increasingly becoming a vital link in the value chain.

Corporate Reputation Management is concerned with the legal/communications-related aspect of a modern, integral management style that is moving towards sustainability and business excellence. Corporate reputation management allows certain areas of difficulty (as well as special opportunities, of course) to be identified at an early stage (Issue Management) and solved in a positive way through proactive communications strategies (Perception Management); at the very least, the effects can be minimized in a timely fashion (Exposure Management), or the areas of damage actively dealt with (Crisis Management).

If the reputation factor is neglected, corporate controlling bodies can be rendered incapable of action and the company weakened financially for a long time to come. If the management makes an incorrect assessment of the situation, there is rapid loss of confidence, followed by the economic consequences one would expect: investors go elsewhere, staff performance and quality drop off, clients drift away, suppliers and sales & marketing partners retreat – and last but not least, political agencies attempt to prevent any future misconduct through additional regulation.

Jens Drolshammer have a good network of renowned experts in this field that either jointly or singly offer a series of services such as solutions in the area of strategic and operational measures designed to build, improve and secure the good reputation of corporations and product brands. Our clients are CEO’s and administrative boards who want to put their company’s or organization’s traditional risk management on a broader footing in line with the times. Our services are designed to meet the needs generated by the increased exposure of top management, corporations and product brands as well as by the powerful influences exercised by published and public opinion. A company’s valuation in the capital markets, its corporate image and the customers’ preference for its products is being more and more strongly influenced by the reputation of the top management, the company and its “brand”. Services designed to prevent and/or deal with critical situations and handle adverse public comment.

Drolshammer have developed expertise particularly in the fields of law and reputation and more general law and communication, integrating this expertise into a more broadly-based issue management and establishing it as an important component of strategic legal advice.

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