The Reputation That Your Organisation Deserves

When considering Reputation Management, I’m repeatedly bemused by the contrast in the amounts of an organisation’s advertising budget compared to their reputation protection budget. I jest!

Obviously, most organisations don’t have a line item in their expenses ledger called ‘reputation budget’. But what if yours did? I think there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way many organisations treat their reputation.

Following are some simple questions, that I dare you to take a few minutes and answer, question by question. This short exercise will only be beneficial to you and your organisation if you answer each question, question by question.

Question 1: If required, out of 100, what number would you estimate the minimum acceptable Reputation score to be for an established organisation?

Question 2: If you were asked to describe your organisation’s reputation in 25 words or less; what would it read?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘Reputation’ as follows:

a: overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general

b: recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability

Question 3: If required, out of 100, what number would you score your overall organisation’s Reputation as being?

Now, lets’ get a little more serious, on a scale of ‘1’ to ‘10’, with ‘1’ being “no control” and ‘10’ being “absolute control”, what would you rate the management of your organisation’s reputation in the following categories?

  1. Integrity
  2. Performance (product or deliverables)
  3. Service
  4. Complaint resolution
  5. Corporate citizenship
  6. Leadership
  7. Innovation
  8. Competitiveness
  9. Longevity
  10. Environmental Protection

Question 4: So, what was the score result?  Is that what you were expecting?

It’s a beneficial exercise and your honest appraisal will not only reflect your opinion of historic facts, but it may also well determine future reputation prioritisation and focus.

More importantly, what would be the results of the same survey presented to your staff and (the most critical of all) your clients/customers?

Surely every organisation wants to enjoy a good reputation, so why do some enjoy a much higher reputation than others?

Reputation either reflects reality or a popular perception of experience. Larger institutions, government or corporate, closely monitor their reputation and intervene when necessary. It seems that too many SME’s either ignore their reputation or are uninformed as to solutions.

Naturally, the approach required will depend on where you currently are on your journey. For instance, if you’re planning a ‘start up’ then you’re fortunate enough to be working from a blank canvas. Conversely, if you’re managing a merger, then you are inheriting and mixing multiple reputations that will require considered expertise and a thoroughly developed strategy.

The truth is there are many rational and systematic ways to create, promote, manage, change, repair, enlarge and protect your reputation.

Initially, there must be a clear and cohesive declaration of the desired reputation in at least the 10 categories listed above. This takes a lot more effort and concentration than most are prepared to give. It may well be a strategic benefit to embrace the opinion of your entire team when forming your declarations.

There needs to be considerable attention paid to all the corporate symbols of your organisation. Any lack of attention to corporate symbolism will unnecessarily and indisputably lead to peril.

Perhaps the simplest (but certainly not only) way of managing reputation is regular communication with your clients/customers. After-sales service delivery communication is a no brainer. In my experience many if not most (I don’t have current reputable data to quote) adopt the ‘one is enough’ practice; they initiate one contact immediately after the event, whether that be a direct call or a written form (letter, email, survey, etc.) of communication.

This approach may overlook the notable quote “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.” A simple and relatively inexpensive second communication, with an appropriate time gap, often leads to the discovery of unknown issues that are rectifiable. Or at least, it presents an opportunity to hear their concerns and express your understanding (and possibly regret) without necessarily presenting a tangible solution. This approach has numerous advantages, not the least of repairing your organisation’s reputation and adding to its future protection.

In terms of public relations, perception is everything!

Hopefully, this is a timely reminder for you to consider, discuss, measure, analyse and determine your approach, policies and practices in regards to your reputation.

Again time dictates that I finish here. This blog is not a definitive work on The Reputation You Deserve but rather a discussion opportunity.

Hope you got something useful from this blog.

Question: Do you have a good Reputation story? If so, please share it with us.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Alternatively, I always appreciate constructive comments on Reputation Development and Protection.

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