I believe that most of us are aware of the importance of an impact that an impression we make has on others and that reputation matters. It can explain the dynamic among us and the overall preference of choice. The same mechanism can be observed within the organisational environment. Reputation of the company can explain why customers choose your product or service in preference to somebody else’s and can make the difference between success and failure. Although it may seem like the idea of corporate reputation is intuitive and pretty straightforward, it is surprisingly complex.
Due to the financial crisis reverberations in the real economy, corporate reputation has today a significant influence on the business development. Besides, the credibility of the private sector has serious implications for the global economy’s future.
Therefore, the reputational challenge is not only a result of the unexpectedness of recent economic events, but also the significant changes in the social perception of the product and consumer rights. It is needless to say that in the world of Web-based importance and media power, we have less trust in advertising altogether, by the increasing user confidence in their ability to express their opinions and push forward an individual thinking. Consequently, to build strong reputation, organisations need to enhance their listening skills and concentrate on maintaining the relationships with stakeholders.
However, this process should go beyond the traditional PR activities. The key is the right network of supporters who can influence the internal coordination of reputation efforts. Obviously, what makes the biggest difference is an early warning system put in place that supports effectively the organisational awareness of any problems quickly. In our experience, most companies understand the importance of this competitive environment, nevertheless Bearing has been working with many organisations that need to face the challenge of reputation threats, such as issues related to a company’s business performance, opposition to business moves, or long-standing, sector-specific issues, hidden fees and high-tech.
Corporate reputation is a ‘soft’ concept. It is the overall estimation in which an organization is held by its internal and external stakeholders based on its past actions and probability of its future behavior. The organization may have a slightly different reputation with each stakeholder according to their experiences in dealing with the organization or in what they have heard about it from others. For this reason it is crucial to handle well public relations as a management function that determines the attitudes and opinions of the organisation’s publics, identifies its policies with the interests of its publics, and formulates and executes a programme of action to earn the understanding and goodwill of its publics.
Here in Bearing we believe that corporate reputation is concerned with how people feel about a company based on whatever information (or misinformation) they have on company activities, workplace, past performance and future prospects. Therefore, we help our customers accordingly to the following
Principles Guiding Management of Corporate Reputation:
Also, we are strongly convinced that perceived corporate reputations are hugely dependent on the emotional appeal , vision and social responsibility of the corporate identity that refers to the way in which an organisation chooses to present itself to the world.
Obviously , very often the key to more successful business development and strong corporate identity is the frequent monitoring ad evaluation of the stages in corporate reputation changes process. I would strongly advise to try take into account both internal and external research, objectives and criteria. Otherwise, it is rather easy to get trapped in one of the reasons for failure of an identity change in regards to the corporate identity. The most common mistakes are the following :
- Lack of internal acceptance
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of external acceptance
- Poor process management
- Resources constraints
- Lack of management commitment
Most of us will agree that reputation is a major risk issue, and is should be considered alongside all the other major risks such as operational, strategic and financial risks, thus protecting a reputation is the necessity that requires a level of pro-activity previously unseen and unwarranted.
I recommend watching a brief talk by Dr Gary Davies, a professor of strategy at Manchester Business School, who talks about his focus on reputation management and how businesses develop and maintain their corporate reputation.