This morning I saw this infographic on business2business about YELP . The infographic lists the five reasons why YELP should not be trusted and is instead a monster. YELP is a user review and recommendation service and I've used it many times. I thought to myself, well this is pretty defamatory. The site says "You might be asking, what really makes Yelp so bad? If seeing that up to 25% of the reviews on their site are fake and that sometimes they don’t even publish real reviews doesn’t convince you, then we have another five reasons that may help you believe that Yelp is a monster!" I often read infographics because they are fun and visually compelling. But I rarely see an infographic that is such a reputation-buster and lists why a company deserves to be mistrusted. After being taken aback by the five reasons not to trust YELP, I carefully read the reasons given and they were not so pretty. I am sure there is some reality behind the accusations but it was surprising to see an entire infographic that was so anti-YELP and reputation-damaging. Not so fun! Wonder what YELP has to say.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this infographic from CEO.com titled "The CEO's Guide to Reputation Management." I also saw it on another site with the daunting title, "The Staggering Significance of CEO Reputation." Here is why I was taken aback. Several of the facts in the infographic come from my research over the years. The first, that the CEO's reputation contributes to nearly half of a company reputation comes from our study this year although they could be referring to my work from years ago at another agency. The results were similar showing the steady importance of CEOs on reputation. Kindly they cite us in the next chart about customers caring about CEO reputation. However, the study in the chart about investors comes from a study I spearheaded many years ago so I do not think it is a fair comparison putting them side to side. But perhaps I am reading the chart too literally. And the five pointers at the bottom about polishing a CEO's reputation comes from my book written in 2003, CEO Capital. Although I still agree that these factors are important in building a good name for CEOs, I do not like the word "polish" or "image." Image implies something fleeting and temporary. CEO reputation management is built on a serious exploration of what drives CEO perceptions that benefit a company's reputation. I address this issue in my book because people used to confuse reputation management with "image" management. Today especially, online critics can detect within nano-seconds if CEOs are being in-authentic within second and are all too happy to tell you so. I just think it is the wrong choice of words for 2012/2013. Either way, thanks to CEO.com for featuring our research at Weber Shandwick and my prior work at Burson-Marsteller.