Corporate reputation is a complex but relevant concept for companies. An intangible asset that generates value, a strategic point that cannot be bought, can only be generated by the company itself.
Thus, when we talk about corporate reputation, we refer to the image that a company projects, that is, the idea that users (and not only customers but all stakeholders ) have about it. But what is its importance? How is it managed? How can it affect your business?
Let’s see it!
What is corporate reputation?
It is not easy to define this concept, but we can think of it as the sum of the image projected by the company and the perception that stakeholders have of it.
A brand can differentiate itself from other companies, show and communicate value, and attract and retain customers while adding value to the brand itself and improving loyalty.
According to the book Corporate Reputation, “Its origins go back to the 50s, specifically to the 1958 article, which warned about the benefits of extending the concept of “brand image” to that of “corporate image” […] concept broader that integrates the perspectives of all relevant groups for the survival of a company …” ¹.
This idea that the different stakeholders have falls on various aspects: business ethics, corporate image, relations with distributors, relations with employees, and honesty… Over time, based on the relationship that the brand has with its interest groups forms public opinion. This perception of the company is reflected in the public’s comments about the company, the brand, and its products.
Importance of caring for corporate reputation and image
As we have anticipated, corporate reputation is the image that stakeholders have of a company. It cannot be bought; it must be built by the company itself.
The company has to be able to detect the needs of its stakeholders and act accordingly to satisfy them. In addition, it is necessary to have a good strategy to communicate the actions carried out.
Thus, although it is an intangible value, in a highly competitive market in which products and services are very homogeneous, having a good corporate image and reputation can serve as a differentiating element and become a competitive advantage. It can be crucial in making a customer decide on your product or service!
A good reputation fosters the retention of your stakeholders and a greater loyalty of your consumers.
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Advantages of a good corporate reputation
As you can imagine, achieving a positive reputation requires effort by a large part of the company (marketing, public relations, customer service, management, and human resources…). So what benefits does this effort bring? The main advantage is to get loyalty. A good reputation helps retain talent, customers, distributors, and investors… For this reason, a good corporate reputation helps business growth and is an important differentiating element.
Let’s put ourselves in a situation where your company carries out all the actions in its power so that its interest group is satisfied with your brand; however, it needs a communication plan and a coherent strategy to communicate it.
In this case, you would be wasting the potential of your actions. Although Socrates said: “Strive to be what you want to appear,” it is not enough to be, you have to appear, and for this, you have to know how to communicate your good corporate reality.
Let’s now see the role of communication in the success of your corporate reputation.
Reputation and communication
Communication plays a fundamental role as a transmitter of the company’s values. Although communication does not generate value by itself, it is the driving element that transmits the value of your brand.
Thus, having a coherent and solid plan that communicates the efforts and successes of your company prevents the image of the company from being in the hands of the public imagination.
So, does your company have a communication strategy that transmits to your stakeholders the business actions you carry out to satisfy their needs?
Online communication has opened up a whole range of possibilities for us. It is possible to get your values almost anywhere and immediately, so having a solid strategy and taking advantage of new forms of communication will help you forge your corporate image.
Corporate reputation must be addressed transversally, considering various factors such as environmental aspects, social aspects, reputation drivers, the brand, the media, reputation leaders, and trends.
Reputation drivers tell us how stakeholders think about a company, encompassing everything they consider about reputation. So, products or services, innovation, corporate ethics, well-being in the workplace, leadership, respect for the environment, and the performance of the company and its growth perspective are drivers of reputation.
Good corporate reputation management and good communication about it cause (positive) effects on stakeholders: loyalty, trust in the brand, and increased sales…
Tips for a good corporate reputation
Now that we know the importance of taking care of all the drivers of reputation, from product quality to employee quality, corporate values , or company performance and finances, we will see some tips that help maintain a good reputation. Corporate.
- Transparency. Do not mislead the client (essential!).
- Coherent speech. Corporate communication must be aligned with practice: say what is done.
- Responsibility. Be aware of weak points, and face and correct mistakes.
- Efficiency. Fulfil what was promised.
- Attention. Provide quick responses and solutions to every claim.
- Social responsibility. Have a CSR plan and actions.
- Crisis containment plan. Have an action plan for potential reputational crisis.
It is just as important to work to achieve and maintain a good corporate reputation as to be prepared before a possible crisis. A bad comment or unfortunate news can lead to a negative brand image among consumers. And since prevention is better than cure, to manage an online reputation crisis, the company must be able to act quickly, and for this, it is necessary to have a strategic plan.
In short, corporate image is the public’s perception of a company. It is formed with the set of beliefs, prejudices, and feelings of consumers about the company:
- The products it offers.
- Its relationship with its customers.
- It’s treatment of its workers.
- Society in general.
And what does a good corporate reputation translate into? A good image entails greater possibilities of recommendation (known as “word of mouth”) and, therefore, greater benefits.
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