Perceived credibility defines your reputation because credibility goes to the heart of a person’s or an organisation’s character.
‘Credibility’ is the quality of being trusted and believed in. Words that denote credibility include trustworthiness, authenticity, believability, reliability, dependability, integrity and kudos.
‘Character’ refers to the distinctive qualities of an individual, place or thing. For people, the consistency of these distinguishing qualities defines their general personality and behaviour in the minds of others.
Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen politicians, business leaders, government organisations and media outlets reveal their characters – and define their reputations – by the presence or absence of perceived credibility in the shape of misinformation, bias, mixed messages and lack of transparency.
The 2021 Edelmen Trust Barometer – a 20+ year global survey on trust within the four institutions of government, media, business and non-government organisations – confirms widespread mistrust among societal leaders fuelled by a rampant infodemic. Chief among the actions Edelmen says organisations can take to emerge from the era of ‘information bankruptcy’ is to provide trustworthy content that is truthful, unbiased and reliable.
Being a trusted source of information is the number one credibility and trust-building action entities can take at this time. This is particularly important for government representatives and authorities if they are to restore their character in the eyes of the public and rebuild trust to effectively address the fears and ongoing challenges of the pandemic.
While quality of information is a key driver of credibility, reputation is also shaped by the expression of an organisation’s character through the decisions, words and behaviours of its owners and employees. In my 35+ career as a public relations professional I’ve seen many examples where the alleged/perceived misdemeanours of one person has impacted the reputation of an entire organisation. In all instances, people’s perceptions came down to a question of the person’s credibility of character and this, in turn, impacted the reputation of the organisations they represented.
I believe that an index of someone’s credibility is the ‘health’ of their reputation. Which is why it pays to have good individual and organisational character.
©Ros Weadman 2022 Ros Weadman is an award-winning brand communication and reputation strategist who helps professional service providers enhance their reputation. She is the author of “Brandcode®” and “The Reputation Equation”. Her new book ‘Enhance Your Reputation’ will be available in March 2022.
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