Reputation Management Guide – An intro to Reputation Measurement Strategies and Considerations.
Reputation measurement is a dynamic topic for many companies and most have a dashboard of indices they look at – but it may be time to re-evaluate them as most stakeholders judge companies on very human terms. It is predicted that many companies are going to lose people in the coming months as more opportunities arise with business resurgence and the changes that have resulted from a work from home environment. Management and culture have never been more important. It may be time to consider you company reputation score.
Some questions to start with. Are you measuring your reputation? Do you have an ESG report that seeks to give you a good understanding of your vulnerabilities or is it a glossy report that is packaged for the external market? What about a realistic read on employee engagement? And what do your external audiences think of you?
Start with your goals for the upcoming years. Beyond business performance do they include human elements like:
Then rank your key determinants of reputation. Historically some of these have included:
- Financial soundness and investment value
- Leadership and management
- Product and service quality
- Employee engagement and ability to recruit
- Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Revisit your key indices
Revisit your key indices to determine what is important to your organization in this pandemic recovery world. Consider some of the following ways to measure and create a new dashboard:
Annual Stakeholder Interviews
Conduct a third-party review of stakeholders including government, associations, and key opinion leaders. The clarity they provide on your current issues will be revealing. Many companies are too internally focused and do not fully understand how other perceive their intent and actions.
Earned and Social Media
There are tools that look at traditional and social media monitoring for positive, negative and neutral sentiments in news coverage and social posts that can be tracked and compared daily, monthly and yearly. You can throw that up as a fundamental of your dashboard. Take the time to do a quarterly analysis on coverage and opinions as much of the external world will base their assessment of your organization on the information that is pushed to them.
Search and Online Reputation Management
There are many online tools that will measure your company’s reputation and seek to fix tarnished online reputations by pushing down bad news or reviews in search engine results or driving positive online reviews. ORM or Online Reputation Management services have grown dramatically in recent years. They typically look only at online. Add it to the dashboard, especially if online reviews are an important part of your reputation measurement mix.
The annual employee survey gives a read on engagement, but it is not frequent enough. Build your HR resources to coach, mentor and empower and gain a picture of your employee engagement on a much more intimate level. Ask HR for a realistic quarterly assessment of employee engagement.
Consider Custom Research
Measurement may also need to be contextual. If you are recovering from a prolonged crisis, as we have seen for example with the long-term care sector, fundamentally you need to determine impressions of the sector and whether your brand stands out in a good way or a bad way. For that you need custom research.
Track Against a Reputation Index
Look at where you are in these benchmarked surveys of companies or winners of key awards. RepTrack (global) and Leger (Canada) both track reputations for a variety of organizations. Organizations that fare well have usually driven a key innovation or thought leadership perspective over the year and are visible. Invisible companies do not fare well.
Canada’s Top 100 companies or The Forbes Best Employers award highlight humane differentiators. Companies that have won recently showcased thoughtful behaviours like Shopify which was ahead of the pandemic work from home trend and the Canadian Mental Health Association because they pivoted to provide more support virtually during the pandemic.
Reputation has never been more important
Reputation Measurement is of great value if you seek to attract the best partners and the best talent. It’s critical to get a sense of where your companies reputation measurement currently stands. To do this you need to apply some of the reputation measurement strategies and tactics listed above to establish your current status. Once you know where you are, you can then plot the course to improvement. Once you have a culture of reputations measurement you can measure the effectiveness of your Reputation Management Efforts to know what areas require focus and where your company or brand stands as a whole.