Everything an individual or company does or produces contributes to its reputation. Reputation is an intangible asset, but a very important one. In some ways it is even better than having money in the bank, but not as easily quantified.
A good reputation is its own advertising and quality seal. It can engender loyalty in customers that can cross several generations and time zones. A good reputation can bring in more customers in the good times, and be a protective buffer in the bad times.
The author has delineated what he calls the, “18 Immutable Laws of Corporate Reputation.” This book holistically deals with the topic of reputation management in three parts: establishing a good reputation, keeping that good reputation and repairing a damaged reputation.
Law One: Maximize Your Most Powerful Asset
Reputation is an intangible asset yet it is arguably the most valuable asset to manage and maximize. A good reputation can attract and keep customers, investors, and employees. Because of this, a good reputation is like a reservoir of good will (towards the company) to help it weather bear markets, scandals, or natural crises. Conversely, a lost or damaged name can scar a company and provoke boycotts or drive off new capital.
Law Two: Know Thyself – Measure Your Reputation
Before you can manage your reputation you must first measure it and keep score. Measuring reputation is easily done through standard public opinion or market studies; but as each corporation has different stakeholders (target markets, shareholders, etc.) it is necessary to customize. Less than half of corporations have custom research programs. There are no clear methodologies so it is important to identify the stakeholders (from local to global) and the relevant attributes or quantities to be measured: the same company may rank differently in different surveys/studies.
Law Three: Learn to Play to Many Audiences
No company is an island. Everyone has opinion on everything. You can never please everybody. Stakeholders are everybody involved with the corporation. The group is as diverse as: customers, employees, investors, market analysts, shareholders, government, special interest groups, local communities, retirees, etc. Know who are important and play to them. It is helpful to think of stakeholders in terms of a hierarchy or, graphically, as a pyramid with the most influential at the peak and others following in descending order. However, it is important to keep in mind that stakeholder influence is a dynamic relationship and the same model or model is not necessarily applicable to other markets/locales.