99 Tips? Why Not 100 to Safekeep Reputation?
Someone asked me where I got 99 tips to safekeeping reputation. I thought it was a good question and it made me think about the process. I started by reading the books I wrote, reread various reports we have done at Weber Shandwick on safeguarding reputation and reviewed our most recent study on online reputation. I then yellow-highlighted all the steps to safeguarding reputation that I thought were important in preserving reputation and keeping reputations safe. I stopped at some number around 65 and thought that maybe I should pare the list down to 50. However, I liked the number 99 because that is what I originally set out to do. So I went back to articles I have written over the years to find more tips and before I knew it, I had about 103 reminders. It did not take much to reduce the 103 to 99 tips.
Looking through all the 99 tips to safekeeping company reputation, it appears to me that the mainstays of lasting reputation are transparency, ethics, leadership, culture and responsibility. Regardless of what companies do online or offline, these values must be in place and religiously adhered to to sustain reputational trust during good times and bad. Of course, reasonable financial performance must be in place as well. As someone else has said, flat is the new black.
As the recession lingers and trust in business erodes, company reputations are at greater risk than ever before. Since October is around the corner, my mind turns to the distribution of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies ballots which should be out the door momentarily. Respondents are soon to be asked to rate the world’s largest companies on their reputational success or failure over these past difficult 12 months. What will it take to gain admired status in times as unprecedented as these ? Not an easy question to answer but some of the answers are in those 99 tips.