The World’s Most Admired Company survey by Fortune magazine –see 2006 study results at http://tinyurl.com/32426v have been one of the ground breaking annual studies to have been conducted in the field of Reputation and have added much to our understanding of what makes companies great.
But what about those companies that did their utmost to destroy their carefully crafted reputations during the past year (and years). Many companies, institutions and individuals have made this list in the past twelve months.
Perhaps we should start a World’s Most Un Admired Company List. Without being specific, there have been many examples. Many web sites and other bloggers have asked their audiences for their thoughts on the matter. Take a look at the examples cited in articles such as:
PR Missteps and Masterstrokes – A look at some of the public relations disasters and coups in the business world in 2006: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/12/1218_2006pr/index_01.htm
2006 PR Disasters Top Winners – http://www.prdisasters.com/?p=81
The magazine Fast Company is running a slide show depicting how some international brands faced a crisis and rebounded. Visit http://tinyurl.com/yk2vyy to view the slide show. Unfortunately the slide show does not paint a true picture of the damage and impact the crises had on the organizations, but it does encapsulate briefly the response taken.
These examples show that no organization is immune against potential crises and incidents that can destroy their good names. The question that should be arising in your mind is: “What is the potential for my organization to find its way on to this list?”
What is my organization’s potential to destroy its hard earned reputation through for example?
Lack of safe health and environmental practices
Being sued successfully due to antiquated or insufficient labor practices
Being rocked by insider trading scandals
Improper trading forecasts
Poor customer service levels and its allied root causes.
Reputation is an asset, which is in need of managing. The Economist magazine of 12 June 1999 said that “The Value of a Business Increasingly Lurks Not in Physical and Financial Assets That Are on the Balance Sheet, but in Intangibles.” In an survey that Ernst & Young ran called “Measures that Matter”, interviews with portfolio managers and buy-side investors concluded that 30% to 50% of a company’s value is in intangible assets.
To what extent is your company managing its intangibles -its reputation assets? It’s perhaps important to discuss the meaning of reputation. What is reputation? It is the net result of the interactions of all the experiences, impressions, beliefs, feelings and knowledge all stakeholders have about a company and it is expressed or built through advertising, marketing, public relations, employee communications and servicing elements.
The key word is stakeholders. So many companies have customer service or shareholder programs in place, ignoring their other stakeholders. What are the perceptions of suppliers, the government and the media with regards to your company?
Let me leave you with a question: Who in your organization has assumed a holistic (systemic) view of managing reputation?
If there is no one, your organization is in danger of making the Un Admired company list.
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