Fifteen lessons for protecting/enhancing corporate reputation

Ethical Corporation and Useful Social Media are today hosting a conference on reputation and crisis management in New York.

Here’s fifteen tips that came out of our first session and Q&A, which featured GE, Alcoa and P&G, among others:

1) Boards and senior managers DO understand the value of reputation BUT still want numbers and a firm business case.

2) Reputation and social media measurement tools urgently need to evolve and become a lot smarter.

3) EVERYONE is now connected. Remote communities are also online.

4) Modern reputation management is now, more than ever, about what you do every day, everywhere. Doing the right thing above all is what counts.

5) While we need better measurement and ROI indicators, we must recognize that balance between art and science AND communicate that internally.

6) Modern communications has evolved from a simple press release to engaged campaigning across multiple channels and markets.

7) It takes a LOT of persuasion to embed the idea of constant, greater engagement across your business.

8) Generational change in top management matters hugely for buy-in.

9) Employee engagement MUST be seen as strategic, better resourced and much more rigorous (GE has gone from 2 to 9 people in this area in recent years) Know your culture…do an audit.

10) Spending on communities is now just a cost of doing business, not an ‘additional expense’. But there’s no set model: All situations are different.

11) Alliances and supporters are vital and take years of consistent cultivation.

12) Local knowledge is now ESSENTIAL. Head office in a particular country may not know localized issues.

13) Most crises emanate from a culture of: “That’s the way we do this around here”. Understanding how issues and expected responses have evolved is key. Complacency is your enemy.

14) Management processes and issues/stakeholder councils matter most and must be invested in. (P&G’s management matrix for issues has been a huge help in managing issues early on)

15) Defining what you MEAN by reputation is vital in a crisis: You must understand the drivers but also the desired outcomes of the parties involved. Not all stakeholder groups are equal.

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