Reputation Club Expands

May 23, 2006

Reputation Club Expands

There are few professionals working today with “reputation” in their title. Today this group expanded by one when I joined Weber Shandwick as “Chief Reputation Strategist.” [According to Google, these are the Chinese characters for reputation. Sure hope so.]

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had someone with the title of VP of Corporate Image and Reputation last time I checked. Dow has a VP of Communications and Reputation. Coca-Cola’s new SVP and director of worldwide public affairs and communications Tom Mattia just announced that he is hiring a director of corporate reputation. “We’ve created a whole new function around corporate reputation to bring together corporate social responsibility pieces, foundation giving pieces, community action pieces, and environmental pieces so people understand all the good we do.” He adds that reputation is “the most important vector” in Coke’s communications efforts going forward. [PRWeek] Good move on Coca-Cola’s part. As it has been said before, you manage what you measure. Clearly Coke will be measuring their reputation now that it is someone’s job.

Although I have been in the “reputation” business for some time now and reputation continues to grow exponentially in importance, the Reputation Club remains small. You have to wonder why there are not more reputation-titled officers when you think about all the CEOs who talk at great length about reputation in their thought leadership initiatives and emphasize its importance in their Letters to Shareholders and on their company web sites.

I am glad to think that Weber Shandwick has recognized the importance of reputation by being one of the few companies to establish a reputation office. I look forward to the time when reputation officers are more mainstream in business circles. lgr

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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.

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