Businesses are aware that their reputation is critical to their success, but aren't making proper preparations to preserve their reputation in the face of a crisis a survey of New Zealand and Australia executives has found.

Communications company SenateSHJ carried out a survey of 150 senior private and public sector leaders on both sides of the Tasman and evaluated their perceived risks to a company's reputation and how organisations plan to manage the risks.

While 80 per cent of respondents said their organisation was proactive in protecting its reputation, only 25 per cent had a budget line item for reputation management.

SenateSHJ chief executive and chairman Neil Green said he found the lack of investment in preparing for a crisis surprising.


"There's a very high appreciation that corporate reputation is a primary asset, but we still have a large number of businesses and senior executives who aren't planning to invest in actually training their people for a situation when something goes wrong."

The biggest risks to reputation were found to be customer satisfaction, cybersecurity threats and product safety breaches.

Green said organisations were actively monitoring customer satisfaction, but not monitoring potential threats to cybersecurity and product safety.

Proper training for senior executives was needed to appropriately handle a reputation crisis, Green said.

"That is the time that [senior executives] are put under intense pressure... they have to operate at a really high level and that can only come about if you get preparation and training."

New Zealand respondents saw traditional media as more important than social media when it comes to managing reputation.