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Crisis and Reputation Management in a Digital Age: A Brands Golden Hour

Presented by Bruce Whitfield, this one-day event will delve into how brands need to be more responsive in times of crisis in today's social world.

Paramedics will tell you that if they can reach a patient within an hour of a traumatic event, the odds of recovery are considerably higher. Brands too need to be more responsive in times of crisis in today's social world. We all recognise that the longer you leave a crisis to fester without an appropriate response, the worse the outcome will be. As with the trauma patient, a corporate reputation left untended for too long too, could well die.

In South Africa we have witnessed our fair share of companies who have eroded their brands.  Everything from racial spats on sports broadcasts, the ongoing saga at Eskom, listeriosis, and innumerable scandals that have rocked the auditing profession. From fake news to budget cuts and corporate scandals to political shenanigans, corporate communications professionals have never faced such pressure. Add the intense speed of change in business, an unforgiving audience who have revenge at their finger-tips via social media and it's clear that we need a re-think. How do we avoid, prepare, deal and recover from crisis?

Presenter: Bruce Whitfield, Talk Radio 702 Business Presenter

Opening keynote: Mark Barnes, CEO of the SA Post Office "When I arrived at the Post Office, it was long dead." Mark will explain how he developed a turnaround strategy for transforming the organisation and its culture.   


  • Leading through a crisis and building a turnaround strategy;
  • Pre-planning and crisis avoidance;
  • Crisis management – What to do when disaster strikes;
  • When to go public with a crisis and when to manage it internally;
  • Defending the undefendable;
  • Restoring reputation;
  • Managing public fallout;
  • Communication strategies for online;
  • Managing staff behaviour on social media;
  • Using digital platforms and technology to boost success;
  • Living in a fake news era; and
  • Stakeholder perspectives - working effectively with investors, analysts, HR, the media, legal and staff when crisis strikes.

Speakers confirmed to date:

  • Bruce Whitfield, 702 Business Presenter
  • Mark Barnes, CEO of the SA Post Office
  • Grant Pattison, CEO of the Edcon Group (Edgars, Jet, CNA, Thank u Digital)
  • Professor Nicola Kleyn, Dean of GIBS
  • David Hertz, Chairman of Werksmans Attorneys
  • Khulu Phasiwe, former Eskom Spokesperson
  • Lebo Madiba, MD, PR Powerhouse
  • Michael Oelshig, MD of Cerebra 
  • Jacqui O Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, MTN 
  • Keri-Ann Stanton, Head of PR, Avatar
  • Tshepo Sefotlhelo, Executive Director of Operations, Vuma Reputation Management
  • Kgothatso Mampa, Associate, technology, media and telecommunications, ENSafrica
  • Zanele Morrison, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, JSE
  • Phillip de Wet, Associate Editor, Business Insider South Africa
  • Yolisa Tyantsi, former National Treasury spokesperson
  • James-Brent Styan, South African writer and author of "Blackout, the Eskom Crisis" and "Steinhoff, Inside SA's Biggest Corporate Crash"

Click here to view the conference programme.

Groups discounts of 20% for bookings of five or more.

Companies wishing to sponsor this conference can contact Katie on

Conference starts at 08:30 and ends at 15:30.

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