As I ended my most recent webinar for Corporate Responsibility Association about reputation management practices, I was left thinking about the most common questions I receive about Standing Partnership’s view of reputation. The webinar yielded some good questions from the participants that I thought might be similar for many people considering the reputation of their company. Below I address those questions, as well as others that I commonly receive.
1. Are reputation management recommendations the same for different types of businesses? For example, would Standing Partnership recommend the same course of action to a small business as they would for a national healthcare company?
Standing Partnership’s reputation management process was designed to benefit any industry and business type. While the process to identify risks would be similar, the recommendations that come out of this process will differ. Every organization has unique needs, different business goals and a wide variety of stakeholders, and our goal for reputation risk management is to gain the insight needed to make distinctive recommendations for each organization.
2. Should businesses focus on engaging a broad scope of stakeholders in order to mitigate risk, or rather engage specific groups of stakeholders?
Understanding who your stakeholders are, and their specific needs or perceptions, is at the core of reputation management. Reputation is owned by stakeholders, and I’ve found there is often confusion between brand and reputation. Brand is what the organization wants stakeholders to think, but reputation is the judgment and perceptions of the stakeholders. In short, yes, company’s should focus on engaging specific groups of stakeholders because their diverse needs will often determine an organization’s reputation.
3. I read a lot about online reputation management. Is that the same as Standing Partnership’s view of reputation management?
Online reputation management is essentially taking control of how a company shows up on the web. This ranges from keyword SEO, promoting positive content in Google searches and ensuring brand consistency across a company’s website. We believe in a holistic approach to reputation management, which may include online considerations as one piece of a much larger strategy. Our approach to managing reputation starts with working with the board of directors, CEO or senior leadership to understand the company’s mission, vision, values and the overall strategy of the organization. At Standing Partnership, we believe reputation is the intersection between business strategy and governance, and comprises three key areas that build trust when aligned: responsible business operations, positive social impact and financial stability.
I continually get different questions about reputation management as companies and investors start to see the role that reputation risk plays in business. We even found new questions and insightful information through our research partnership with Edison Research on reputation risk.
To find out what Standing Partnership and Edison Research found, download Standing Partnership’s 2016 Reputation Risk Report.