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Public Relations (PR) Reputation Management Corporate Reputation

Your Reputation is Your Life Story


By Billy Partridge, Director

April 26, 2013 | 3 min read

The use of Warren Buffet’s famous quote, “If you lose dollars for the firm, I will be understanding. If you lose reputation for the firm, I will be ruthless,” is well worn in reputation management circles.

John D. Rockefeller - he gets it

It neatly encapsulates the commercial value of reputation – and I like the fact he makes his point with some panache.

But corporate reputation management has taken a new turn in recent years. The proliferation of social media and mobile technology has pushed media consumption online and has led to far more immediate stakeholder advocacy (or detraction). This ‘socialisation’ of reputation changes the way you might offer advice.

As a result, I like to look at corporate reputation management in a new light. Or at least I think it’s new.

Tested successfully at a CIPR Scotland discussion earlier this week, corporate reputation is the Life Story of your organisation – and it is the telling of the story that dictates how quickly the pages turn.

Think about your own life story – it encompasses not only what has been before, but what is happening now in modern times, and you will probably talk about it in the context of where you are going in the future. Reputation is equally founded on your past, but it is developed and expressed in the context of modern times, and with the hope and expectation of a brighter future.

John Rockefeller once said, ““The most important thing for a young man is to establish a credit... a reputation, character.” This is as true today as it has ever been, and it is applicable to reputation management. Reputation and character are linked, and I believe a PR’s advice must extend into actions as well as words to truly affect the direction of a life story.

That’s why corporate reputation management is so interesting – it runs to the heart of an organisation, and its impact can have genuine commercial benefit in a holistic way. To be involved in genuine decision-making, as I am lucky enough to be with many clients, is something really worth striving for.

It is too easy to look at this discipline with a negative tone – it’s easy to start a corporate reputation talk with reference to crisis and issues management, isn’t it? But who would want to recount their life story with melancholy? Hope and positivity frame every organisation’s long term aspirations and choosing the right narrative for that tale can contribute to that. After all, that’s what socialising reputation is all about – sharing stories and giving a bit back so that everyone gets what they want.

Public Relations (PR) Reputation Management Corporate Reputation

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