Barry van Beurten
September 19, 2019
Reputation. The cornerstone of success for any organisation. It’s in every business' best interest to protect it. And it should be every business’ worst nightmare to tarnish it.
Business has always been at the mercy of consumers but in today’s world of increased competition, the demand for authenticity of both the brand promise and the brand experience, along with the all-pervasive nature of social media, consumers’ ability to see a business punished for its mistakes or granted the chance to live to see the next day, has never been greater.
More so than ever before, business will be well served to understand what impacts reputation, what elements of the offering to activate to build it, and then how to preserve it. Get it wrong – or even worse, assume - and even the oldest of brands can come crashing down.
For a while now, marketers have been firmly focussed on better understanding and improving customer experience and, more recently, employee experience. However, most tend to look at these in isolation of each other and then fail to appreciate the interrelationship and the relative impact each has on their brand and overall reputation.
An early warning here - brand and reputation are often used interchangeably, however they are not one in the same. Businesses can manage and control a brand through the four Ps of the marketing mix. Reputation, on the other hand, is determined by your stakeholders. Your brand is the promise you make to your consumers and your reputation is built on how well you kept that promise.
Experience suggests that drivers of reputation are similar between sectors, however in weighting these drivers it’s critical to consider the respective needs of your stakeholders and the relative experience they have when engaging. In measuring reputation, consider the quality of the products or services you’re delivering, degrees of innovation, organisational leadership, company performance, community impact, employee care, and company ethics. Find out what your stakeholders truly care about and in what order and then how that aligns with the messages you’re sending and the experience you’re delivering. And then, you can begin to fully understand reputation and reputational management.
Understanding reputation is an ongoing process. A stagnant strategy will almost certainly only serve to inform brand and reputation failure. Businesses who are serious about building and managing a revered reputation will regularly seek and mine data. And smart analytics gleans deeper insights to help inform a dynamic and relevant strategy.
In a crowded marketplace with an over saturation in so many products and services, reputation can be your competitive advantage. Your brand offerings may attract customers, but your reputation will secure them.
So, when your reputation can make or break your brand, why would you take the risk of not understanding what drives it and then how to best leverage it?
Research First – making the complex simple.