‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.’ Warren Buffett, business magnate and philanthropist
In the global digital 24/7 marketplace of today, reputation is all powerful yet as fragile as a flower. And with Harvard Business Review citing 70-80 per cent of a firm’s market value coming from intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital and goodwill, it’s vitally important for all CEOs to proactively manage their reputation given company worth is vulnerable to reputational damage.
Here’s my 5-point plan to propel more personal and or business success though the power of a strong positive reputation.
Rolex has been ranked the most reputable company in the world five times in the last decade, including this year in the Global RepTrak® 100 ranking. RepTrak™, the world’s leading reputation data and insights company, measures the key drivers of reputation, including products and services, performance, innovation, leadership, conduct, workplace and citizenship. According to RepTrak™, the strength of Rolex’s reputation lies in the quality of its products. In a rare statement, the company said in part, ‘This recognition reflects our perpetual quest for excellence. Thanks to our values of perfection and to our culture of continuous improvement, we strive to always go further. Our aim is to constantly improve not only our products but also our environmental and social performance, as well as our impact on society’.
While product/service perception remains a top driver of reputation, companies that align their brand to a higher purpose do better in the reputational stakes. A global survey by Harvard Business Review and EY Beacon Institute found that those companies that clearly identified their purpose as ‘an aspirational reason for being which inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation and its partners and stakeholders, and provides benefit to local and global society’ reported that their customers were more loyal and their employees more engaged. Furthermore, RepTrak™ has found that a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance is associated with whether someone will buy from, trust or recommend a company.
Cut through the message white noise by applying a relatability lens to your communications. For example, by ensuring your marketing collateral is accessibly written with a simple message that’s relevant to people’s lives today. In a world where people are craving connection and belonging, caring can also set a brand apart from another. There’s endless ways leaders and organisations can show they care. For example, by cultivating a caring culture, showing staff and customers empathy, acknowledging contribution and celebrating achievements.
While most people would consider that communication is fundamental to everyday business, it’s amazing how many businesses and organisations don’t prioritise it as part of the customer experience process. Did you know you are communicating even when you’re not? Every phone call you don’t return, every email you don’t respond to, every update you don’t give is sending a reputation-defining message. Make communication a priority and that alone will help build a positive reputation. Oh, and apologise if you get it wrong.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is well-known for prioritising staff over customers, empowering them to be walking talking brand ambassadors that build company reputation. He’s quoted as saying, “When people ask me what ‘secret sauce’ has made Virgin a success over the last 40+ years it’s that we have a people-first culture.” It just makes sense that if people wake every day and feel motivated to go to a workplace where they know they are valued and feel connected to a shared vision and values, they are going to give a great customer experience. And a great customer experience, again and again, results in brand loyalty over time. This, in turn, builds a great reputation. The more effort you put into developing a great culture, the more reputation takes care of itself.
©Ros Weadman 2022 Ros Weadman helps purpose-driven consultants, businesses and organisations to communicate their value, build their profile and enhance their reputation. Ros’s new book ‘Enhance Your Reputation’ is out now. Order your copy here.