Negative opinions in the public domain can have catastrophic consequences for the reputation of a business.
Years of hard work to gain favour with your publics can be made futile in one day if communications are not professionally managed and negative press rapidly contained when crisis strikes.
Alongside traditional media outlets the power and reach of the internet cannot be underestimated.
From blogs, forums and news comment pages to social network sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, today's online world provides ever-multiplying platforms for personal opinion to reach the public domain, creating the potential to turn minor mistakes and internal disputes into headline news.
Remember, perception may not be fact but usually it's too late to make the difference.
The majority of senior management teams do not have the expertise or the resource to deal with a crisis, whilst continuing to service customers and manage a workforce. Ignoring negative perceptions or responding unprofessionally will be far more costly in the long-term than short-term crisis management cover.