“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently” – Warren Buffett
An organisation’s reputation is an intangible asset, derived from a set of actions and behaviours. It can be nurtured to differentiate an organisation from its competitors. For stakeholders, it can serve as a measure of whether an organisation’s actions and communications match their needs and interests. No matter how a reputation has been built, one thing’s for sure – one wrong move and it could fall into tatters.
Since an organisation’s reputation and image can vastly influence an external stakeholder’s perceptions and decision-making, it’s important to ensure it stays intact. We have listed 3 tactics and safeguards that can help do just that:
- Building reputation - audience positioning: This is the process of managing how an organisation wants to be perceived and understood among its stakeholders. It involves firstly pinpointing existing audience perceptions, and then taking a proactive approach to maintain or modify these perceptions to fit the organisation’s reputation goals.
- Maintaining reputation - perception management: This is the ongoing evaluation of an organisation’s key messages and how they are communicated to stakeholders. Verbal, behavioural and visual cues can impact how messages are received and whether the impression they leave is positive or negative. Proper management of these cues will ensure a positive and accurate perception is left in your stakeholders’ minds.
- Protecting reputation - reputation resilience: Resilience refers to an organisation’s ability to maintain trust and positive sentiment in times of possible reputation disruption. Protecting an organisation’s reputation during times of crisis involves communicating with stakeholders in an accurate, timely and transparent manner, and handling negative feedback and comments politely and constructively. Always offer a positive reply in return and address their concerns, disappointments, or negativity politely.
Managing an organisation’s reputation is crucial to business’ success. By following the tactics above, organisations can build, maintain and protect the reputation they are looking for, while maintaining credibility with their customers.