Post by Robert Fronk, Senior Vice President, Reputation Management
You would think that after 7 years of saying, “I continue to be amazed by how knowledgeable the American public is,” that I would stop being amazed by how knowledgeable the American public is. On Monday, we released the results of our 11th Annual Harris Interactive Reputation Quotient (RQ) study and some of the insights we have been able to glean are truly illuminating.
First off, the public is paying far more attention and is far more knowledgeable about what companies are doing in the areas of corporate behavior and are holding them accountable for their decisions and actions. So they can recall and speak intelligently about financial decisions that companies made 2 and 3 years ago and can either give them credit or penalize them for how these decisions relate to overall reputation.
Secondly, the debate of whether or not reputation matters is over. Reputation is directly linked to the business outcomes that companies want. While reputation perceptions can work in tandem with brand perceptions, they are often formed outside of the knowledge or association with a company’s brand.
So what can a company that wants to focus on positive reputation do? We first need to acknowledge that there is no single answer to this question. No secret sauce. No silver bullets. Corporate reputation is as unique as a person’s reputation. You are evaluated based on your history, your associations, your behavior and many other things that are contextual about you. So are companies.
Because we’ve been doing this for 11 years, we can share the 4 things that companies with long term positive reputations have in common:
- A tangible level of emotional appeal, built through some common set of shared values
- A perceived sense of a clear vision and a culture of leadership accountability
- A recognition that actions precede words
- When it is time for words, a communication style that focuses on honesty, sincerity, and transparency – no matter the subject
So who fits this bill for you?