Six degrees of reputation. I like the sound of it. This phrase came up while I was searching on Google for hits on “reputation.” As the title of a report, six degrees of reputation in this context has to do with online and recommendation systems such as seen on amazon for book reviews.
However, I think it applies to how companies are perceived in their industries today. One of the greatest changes I have seen in the reputation landscape is how one company wrongdoing can impact an entire industry reputation and its competitors. Industry peers are only six degrees of reputation away from each other when one competitor missteps. Sometimes I feel as if companies are only separated by one or two degrees of reptuation, no less six. When I read about the problems in the automotive, pharmaceutical and oil industries, I cannot help but wonder if they are really all alike, give or take a degree. Companies probably need to do a better job of distancing themselves from each other. How about ten degrees of reputation!