“Reputation management is about decreasing the gap between what you really are and how people perceive you,” says Cees Van Riel, Co‐Founder and Vice Chairman of Reputation Institute in a recent Report. It is an especially relevant question in an increasingly interconnected world. We are asked frequently by our online reputation management clients to bridge this gap.
Recently, the Reputation Institute or RI conducted a series of focus groups world-wide to determine the top trends that are driving reputation in 2016. People participating in these groups included chief communications officers (COO), business executives, corporate communication directors and other top communication professionals.
The Reputation Institute study on reputation management found that having an exceptional corporation reputation will be more important than ever in 2016. This reputation will help in terms of attracting a talented workforce that understands and appreciates a company’s societal relevance.
The RI says that “…Organizations must develop an authentic narrative based on their core purpose. Once they have arrived at it, they must stick to it.” In other words – do employees and stakeholder feel the corporation makes sense?
The RI also says that corporation must empower supportive behaviors that align with the core purpose of the organization. That does not mean never using punitive means to push its employees to succeed (raises, bonus, etc. can help motivate a workforce) but overall a good corporate culture and reputation depends on authenticity as well as system of rewards/expectation.
“Above all, as an organization looks inward, the key to success in employee communication will be having an adequate answer to one basic question: What’s in it for me? The employee is obviously a critical link, and firms that don’t have a good answer to that question will soon face considerable challenges,” according the RI report.
Focus group participants were adamant that positive reputation management does not happen overnight. To build a good reputation takes time and energy. The RI report notes, “The research proves that organizations driven only by short-term, monthly or quarterly financial indicators make different decisions than those that also include softer KPIs like reputation, customer satisfaction, and carbon footprint.”
Another interesting driver of reputation management is Big Data. As structured and unstructured data (pictures, social media, etc.) overflows more than ever (and much remains unanalyzed) these “resting places for big data” is now what is now called Data Lakes (or trash repositories). The good news is that when big data is used properly and analyzed, it can shed much light on customer behaviors for instance, and help a company make important decision.
The RI states, “In 2016 algorithms, analyzing enormous, longitudinal reputation and financial databases, will predict when and how movements in reputation will impact the financial performance. This will increase the importance of reputation management, but it will also raise the bar for communication.”
According to the Reputation Institute, the top trends are the following:
- Know who you are first, and stick to it
- The big data revolution will have consequences
- Reputation management will be a long journey
- The CCO will lead reputation management in 2020
- Employees will be your reputation ambassadors
- Reputation management will increase the value of the business
- Stakeholders will increase in numbers and influence
- Personalized messaging will be the norm
- Industry reputations will more closely affect individual companies
- Societal relevance will help companies, products and services stand out from the crowd