New Risks and Routes in Constructing Corporate Reputation
A strategy that anticipates reputational risks will not only prepare the company for hostile situations but also help improve company positioning.
The future of any company is clouded by bad reputation. An unfavorable position in the eyes of public opinion is disastrous, so to anticipate risks, companies need to understand the new threats that – like the tools used to build reputation – have evolved.
Today, intangible assets are highly valued, contributing up to 90 percent of a company’s value, according to an analysis by intellectual property merchant bank Ocean Tomo. Examples of these assets include patents, public relations, technology, and reputation.
Reputational damage, which can be caused by inadequate products and services or even by a lack of ethics, is a concern within any organization regardless of its size. First, because it will have an impact on the value of the company and, second, because the first to demand solutions will be its stakeholders – the lifeblood of any organization.
A new reality presents different opportunities, one of them reflected in the transformation of the world of work. As companies adjust their work systems from face-to-face to virtual or hybrid, reputational risk is visible in poor communication, opacity, and hasty decisions.
Along the same lines, assertively communicating the goodness and adaptability of organizations to continue their operations in the face of adversity will reinforce positive perception both internally and externally. Creating a healthy organizational climate is crucial and reputation is generated from the inside out, so a good emotional salary for collaborators will produce better results.
These measures, properly applied, can make the difference in generating a positive perception among stakeholders and key audiences. Specifically, it is the difference between being perceived as a workspace with favorable conditions, or an uncomfortable space that offers little stability with realities like high turnover and low commitment.
Before 2020 and 2021, models for protecting and enhancing reputation were already in use in the business world but were not as relevant as they are today. The advent of reputation models arrived with digitalization when the business world accelerated its transition and began facing fundamental changes.
Today, 47 percent of global consumers search the internet for more information about companies from which they purchase products or services, according to the study “Unlocking the Value of Reputation.”
This represents fields of opportunity and threat when there is a lack of transparent communication in digital spaces like the company’s official website and social media accounts. Even ambiguous messages issued by the company, or publications that challenge exclusion, discrimination, or mistreatment among stakeholders, can result in corporate risk.
On the other hand, having a solid digital communication strategy and reputational model, through digital listening, will determine the company’s position in the eyes of public opinion.
Well-worked corporate reputation can be the pillar of a company in the face of unexpected environmental changes, even from one day to the next. According to the report ‘Lessons from the Pandemic: Corporate Reputations Drive Stock Price Outperformance In Volatile Markets,’ companies with reputation-focused strategies suffered less impact during the pandemic compared to those that did not considered a priority.
Reputational threats and risks, which can be generated on several fronts, can destabilize an organization, making anticipation a key component in this area. A strategy that anticipates reputational risks will prepare the company for possible unfavorable situations, and in itself will help to improve the company’s standing in the eyes of public opinion. Without reputation, navigating through storms is almost impossible.
Pilar Torres, Crisis Management & External Affairs, Group Director at JeffreyGroup Mexico