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While Corporate Reputation covers the concept and the theory, Reputation Management is very much the deployment of that theory into everyday reality, which is often more challenging and fraught than the textbooks may have us believe. Indeed, it is arguably not even possible to “manage” one’s reputation, but merely influence it. In this section, we look at real life examples of different companies’ attempts to manage their reputations and the various techniques available to improve your chances of success.
Reputation Management has become synonymous with spin over the years, with a whole industry springing up to suppress search results and manage bad news. But in truth, the real purpose of Reputation Management should be much more about listening to stakeholders, understanding their expectations and then building these into an organisation’s decision making process. We believe that Reputation Management should be reclaimed as Stakeholder Engagement.
If corporate reputation is the perception of a business by its stakeholders, both internal and external, then reputation management must, by inference, be the shaping of those perceptions. In the real world, however, it’s not that simple.
Every organisation wants to have a good reputation. So how can a reputation score help achieve this? What does it mean, how is it calculated, and how can it be actioned to create business benefit?
Reputation management is a hot topic: plug it into a search engine, and you’ll come up with a swathe of results outlining why it’s a vital business strategy. But, like so many things in life, to manage your reputation is not that simple. And, to be pedantic, it’s not actually possible.
Company reputation is composed of many elements, and channelled through the whole spectrum of media outlets, but in the digital world, online image is kin.
Bad reviews, negative content and damaging online commentary can all dent an organisation’s reputation. The temptation to smother such stories, so that search engines don’t throw up negative reporting in connection to your business, is undeniable, understandable – and arguably underhand.
Amazon is a juggernaut. Its success by any traditional measure is unquestionable. Yet there is a persistent background disquiet about the company and how it is run. In this case study, we will use the example of Amazon to unpack the concept of multiple reputations and to illustrate how the oversimplification of the concept of reputation can lead to complacency, false assumptions and potentially missed reputation risks.
It has been a challenging few years for British Airways on a number of fronts. Once a regular member of the Most Admired Companies list, the firm has not troubled the rankings for many years now and its profile seems to largely be defined by mishaps and operational issues. We analyse British Airways’ reputation in this case study.
The world is very familiar with a particular face of J&J – the consumer-first, parent and baby friendly corporate giant which sets and adheres to standards that most other businesses would love to emulate.
So what, therefore, are we to make of the series of allegations and lawsuits that have dogged J&J in the past 48 months, from litigation over its baby talc, to faulty pelvic mesh implants, to blood thinner deaths, to the company’s role in the opioid crisis? What has this actually done to J&J’s reputation?