Individual vs. Collective Reputation

April 12, 2009

Individual vs. Collective Reputation

  Found this fascinating article about the financial services sector and reputation.  Saw it referenced on Twitter. It’s titled Rebuilding Trust with Enterprise Social Networking and describes how some financial services companies are using ERM (enterprise relationship management) effectively to network internally for external relationship-building.  If you are into that sort of thing, read it.  What interested me were two sentences at the top of the article: “Reputation and brand won’t carry the weight they did before the crisis. In this new world, where reputation is no longer enough to create confidence, people turn to trusted individuals.”  Although I realize the author was referring to internal trusted individuals who provide colleagues with access to relationships to grow business, it got me thinking about individual vs. collective reputation.  I think that most people are disenchanted with trusting individuals as much as they did. They just need to remind themselves of CEOs, presidents, investment advisors, politicians, journalists and many more that have let us down. The trust levels of most people of influence could not be lower.  Let’s not forget that many smart people trusted Bernie Madoff with their life savings because of his carefully built exclusive reputation. The recession has revealed many phonies behind those once golden reputations.   In my way of thinking, I believe that company and brand reputation are still going strong (with less fanfare than before) despite being misled by certain individual leaders.  Many company and brand reputations in select sectors are dented but not smashed. My sense is that there will be a resurgence of intense reputation-building as companies get back on their feet and realize that they must build enduring reputations for the long-term that are based on credibility, accountability and sound leadership. I think we haven’t seen anything yet!  Individual reputation-building might take a back seat to company reputation for a long while to come. Individual reputation-building will have to be carried out on behalf of the collective company reputation to really ring true.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

  • accountanct in Essex
    Posted at 14:38h, 31 May Reply

    Good Morning, I am new to the internet but I have been involved in accountant services for over 15 years now. Your article is good reading! We seem to be coming out of the recession and I hope 2011 will be a bumper year. Do I have to click a button or something to subscribe on this blog as I would like to check back now and then. Are there other forums that I need to know about?

    • Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross
      Posted at 17:51h, 31 May Reply

      You should click on the RSS feed! Thanks for reading and glad you enjoy the blog. Best, lgr

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