Interesting stuff

It pays to take your reputation seriously

By June 12, 2015 No Comments

If we had a penny for everytime we have had the following reaction to telling someone we work in PR, we’d be sitting on a beach somewhere drinking Pina Coladas (oh dear, am I conforming to the very sterotype I am trying to dissolve?!)

“Oh PR, that’s just writing press releases isn’t it?”, or equally as prevelant when you mention you work in PR is “It’s all air kissing and drinking Prosecco in the world of PR….”

And whilst all of the above do factor into the life of PR (c’mon, I cannot pretend you won’t find us sipping the delicious, bubbly nectar), they are hardly a good or fair representation of what PR actually is and what we do on a daily basis for clients….

…which got me thinking….isn’t it about time I wrote something to try and explain what it is we PR people do (well, what we do here at Chalk & Ward PR at the very least) in the vain hope it might help evolve the sterotypical views and popular notion of what PR is and garner a better understanding of our industry.

First things first….the definition of PR

Not wanting to point out the obvious, but Public Relations is about reputation – here is a handy little definition from The Chartered Institute of Public Relations explaining PR’s main aim:

Public Relations is the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. 

It is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.

The above definition goes some way to explain why we think PR is a pretty darn important tool for every business wanting to take its reputation seriously and stand the test of time.

And if that wasn’t compelling enough reason to make you believe the work of PRs is actually very important and has real business value, then perhaps the findings from one of the leading, global reputaution management agencies – Reputation Institute – will make interesting reading or provide food for thought….

Reputation, reputation, reputation….

According to the 18-year-old reputation management consulting firm based in New York and Copenhagen, 85% of consumers say they would deinitely buy products sold by a company with a top reputation while only 9% said they would buy from companies with weak reputations.

According to Reputation Institute, the four areas that determine a company’s overall success is: trust, admiration, feeling and overall reputation. Last year the agency commissioned a list of companies it says have the best reputations among international consumers  – Global RepTrak100: The World’s Most Reputable Companies. This list measures perception, rather than just looking at an organisations practices.

Last year, The Walt Disney Company and Google shared the top spot (read more here http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/04/08/the-worlds-most-reputable-companies/), the overachring tactic and similarity shared by both is that they have devised a way of telling stories about themselves that connects with key stakeholders, and they are so successful at it, they’ve scored pole position.

The Reputation Institute highlights Korean electronics giant, Samsung as one of the brands making the most notable advances in terms of reputation, climbing the leader board jumping from 43rd place back in 2011, to 16th last year and tenth this year.

With a whoppping (dollar sign)14billion advertising and marketing budget to play with, it is fair to say most businesses will never experience working with such vast budgets, however, there are some key learnings that can be applied to any size of business.

Samsung achieved the impressive shift by consistently investing in tactics and methods to aid its overall reputation by crafting engaging ways of connecting with target audiences. For example, Reputation Institute cites the example of when Samsung ran a survey to publicise its NX30 camera, it polled 5,000 Europeans about their favourite things to photograph: Italians like to take pictures of pasta, while Germans their family. A lot of coverage was gained from this campaign, people related to it and it made people appreciate the company and its products.

Our advice

Be clear on your company values and what it is you actually want to gain a great reputation for. If it’s for offering the best customer service in your industry, or the best product in your marketplace, it pays to make sure you can live up to the claims.

Be inventive – think of creative ways to get your message across, or inventive (but relevant) ways to enagage with your target audience. The communications strategy needs to be on brand

Be consistent – reputations aren’t built overnight, so it pays to have a clear, long-term communications plan that will sustain activity across all relvant platforms

Maximise effectiveness from all comms activity – whatever you choose to do, take the time to make sure the activity is as impactful as possible

Reputation management is just one of the roles performed by a PR agency. Check out next week’s blog where we will explore ‘The art of message amplification’.

Sarah Jepson

Author Sarah Jepson

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