By Tom Hagy

“A floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell.” These are hardly the words you want to see associated with your company. But those are just some of the phrases Carnival Cruise Lines has been seeing linked to its brand in the wake of the debacle caused by an engine room fire aboard the cruise ship Triumph, which crippled the 100-ton vessel and sent 4,000 passengers and crew on a slow and trying journey to Mobile, Ala. For some of us who kept continuous cable news coverage rolling in the background, the sight of the leaning Triumph conjured up the image of some mythical Hell Ship on which people drift for centuries without showers, bathrooms, air conditioning, heat or a fresh TicTac, a shortcoming made worse by a menu comprising nothing but onion sandwiches, until it is decided by Satan himself which of the unlucky passengers should ultimately hang fireproof curtains for all eternity. Unfortunately, that isn’t too far from how the first lawsuit against Carnival reads. In an article I wrote for the LexisNexis In-House Advisory, I discussed an Oxford Metrica study which recommends, among other things, that the first step to protecting your organization’s reputation is to know what it’s worth. “This will measure the size of the asset and facilitate benchmarking of different aspects of reputation performance both over time and against selected peer groups,” the report says, adding that you must know what drives your reputation and you must take great care to monitor its health. Read the full story.