15/02/2023 - 15/02/2023
Doing Reputation: Creating Value for Business
With close to 15 years of experience spanning reputation management, brand communications, and public relations, Munavar Attari is presently the Managing Director at Fleishman Hillard in India. Dr. Biswajit Roy is the Director General at the Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute in Gandhinagar. Dr. Roy has over 38 years of work experience with leading oil and gas giants — Oil India Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited. Prof. Asha Kaul is Professor of Communication at IIM, Ahmedabad.
Reputation in simple terms is what an entity is known for. It is an intangible asset of any organization. Reputation is important for all organizations disregards of their company size. According to Warren Buffet, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it, if you think about that, you will do things differently.” Building and maintaining a reputation helps in the overall growth and revenue of the company in the long run, provides them an edge over their competitors, acts as a societal help during a crisis situation, helps companies attract the best pool of talent, helps secure their loyal and repetitive customers, helps in easier and smoother product line expansions, and also attracts stakeholders especially, investors. Reputation is also something that protects the companies’ license to operate in the marketplace. It acts like a shield in terms of crisis. It also reduces the cost of the business in the long term. Every organization must build a reputation as a matter of strategy. Reputation and trust can be considered intrinsically linked. There occurs to be a ‘trust deficit’ when a stakeholder is wondering if the company is staying true to what it communicates and is sceptical about a particular promise by the company. Some companies perform well but they may not be good at communicating what they do, and for some companies there actually may be a gap between what they say and what they do. Both cases are a risk to their reputation that needs addressing at different levels. This is when Corporate Social Governance (CSG) comes into play. What a company is statutorily mandated to do, what it actually does, and how it presents itself is a measure of CSG. As much as difficult it gets to manage a reputation in times of social media, it also helps in acting as a ‘coating’ during tough times.
The webinar also covered numerous examples of case studies from the automobile, travel, and software industries of broken reputations, their impact on the business, and the fixing procedure. It also discussed the companies that continued to behave ethically to fix their affected reputation despite incurring losses during the affected period and ultimately turned successful. Most businesses can survive the short bad phase if they are on the path of honesty. Reputation, as much as it is about external communication, is also about how an organization is structured internally. Reputation is not something to be dealt with only in a crisis situation, it is an ongoing function and responsibility of the organization. Reputation is not a destination; it is a journey.