a leader who is confident in his reputation management program

What is reputation management? Reputation management is the art of influencing trust and reputation among stakeholders, such as customers, clients, investors, potential employees, or anyone else affecting a company’s success. Reputation management takes a holistic view of the company’s reputation, from the news on a brand’s Google search to third-party reviews or media coverage, a positive company reputation is its most valuable asset.

Why is a Positive Reputation Important?

Without a positive reputation, all other initiatives, from advertising to an IPO, will be less effective. This is even more true for emerging industries and ambitions brands than for publicly traded companies like Apple and Coca-Cola, which are always on the top brand list.  Why? Because those companies have a long history of trust and positive reputation, it takes more to take them down. But growing companies, who aren’t household names without decades of trust build up need to fight harder to gain and keep a positive reputation. 

 

What is PR’s Role in Reputation Management?

Some might say PR is reputation management, but that’s not quite true. There are a few different departments that could be involved in reputation management. The branding team has a role to play in reputation and trust because branding is more than logos and packaging. A great, well-tended-to brand evokes feelings and allows the target audience to know exactly where you fit in their lives. Product development is another vertical that touches on reputation management. If you launch a product that is deeply flawed or offensive, that will impact your company’s reputation. So, what does PR do for reputation management? This could include:

  • Media Coverage & Media Relations
    Proactive media coverage, whether it be thought leadership for executives or consumer product PR, helps stakeholders gain confidence in the company. After all, fewer than 1% of companies ever receive PR coverage, so if your company is in the media, that’s a significant differentiator. One thing that universally stands out as the responsibility of PR is media relations. PR professionals understand how to talk to the media, whether that means proactive pitching or responding to media inquiries.
  • Content Strategy
    The content strategy could intersect with SEO campaigns, including paid placements or buzzy videos used in presentations, internally and externally.
  • Purpose-Driven Initiatives
    Purpose-driven campaigns and initiatives, from the inside out, can be a collaborative effort between branding and public relations. Both teams are vested in ensuring that any CSG program matches the company’s reputation and that stakeholders, from employees to investors to customers, receive the campaign positively.
  • Crisis Communication
    PR will almost certainly take the lead on creating a crisis communication plan, which every company should have and managing a crisis, should it reach the level of stakeholder awareness. Having a PR team who knows the key media players, and understands how to communicate with them can be the difference between a brand-impacting crisis and a hiccup.
  • Social Media
    From influencers to social media posts, PR often directs social media campaigns to coincide with PR campaigns. But social media may also involve advertising, which traditionally isn’t the purview of PR.

How Important is Company Reputation?

How Reputation Impacts Product Pricing

The more competitive your space, the more important your reputation. If your product is essentially the same as its competitors -iPhone vs. Google phone, for example, or Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi – then PR and reputation management are often differentiators for brands. If you want your company to be the premier one within your vertical, your reputation must match your goals.

Pre-IPO Reputation Management

Whether you’re gearing up for an IPO, or already publicly traded, the value of a company. In fact, according to executives, up to 63% of a company’s value is its reputation.  The fact is, current and future investors have a vested interest in your company’s reputation.

 

How Your Reputation Impacts a Crisis

The more your stakeholders trust you, the more likely they are not to overreact to a crisis like a product recall or a careless executive statement. Emerging from a crisis without significant damage has multiple inputs, but there’s no doubt that a positive reputation makes it easier. I call this the trust bucket. When your trust bucket is overflowing, and a crisis takes it down an inch from the top, that’s a whole different scenario than if your trust bucket only had an inch of trust to start. There’s really no substitute for brand trust.

 

Attracting Outstanding Team Members

There’s nothing more frustrating than hiring for a role and receiving dozens of resumes from less-than-attractive candidates. If your company has a good reputation, it will always have access to both active and passive candidates, rather than wasting hours of human resources time. Not only do the best people want to work at the company with the best reputation, they are also most likely to help spread the news without you asking. Let’s face it – employees who care about your company’s reputation are its most valuable employees.