Stop, Look, LISTEN!

July 31, 2010   

What immediately comes to your mind when you hear the words “scandal, accident, controversy, and tragedy?” I bet you’ll come up with names like Hayden Kho and Paris Hilton, with companies like Negros Navigation and Philippine Airlines, and with brands like Ludy’s Peanut Butter and Promil infant formula.   

What’s common with them is that their reputations have been stained by scandals, accidents, controversies, and tragedies. But what exactly is reputation and how does image come into the picture?   

Today, my Communication Trends and Styles class reminded me of the importance of building and keeping one’s image and reputation. Each person in class was asked, “What is your image?” Personally, it wasn’t hard to answer the question. I quickly said that the image I am trying to convey is that I am the funny yet witty kind of girl. A follow-up was posted by our professor: “Is conveying that image a conscious effort? Are you happy with that image?” Those questions made me think and reflect of the benefits that the particular image has given me.   

Stop, look, and listen

  

Image, Reputation, and the Organization
Building and keeping one’s image and reputation is not only for an individual. These two concepts are of great importance to organizations as well. Image and reputation can make or break an organization, can determine its success or failure.   

In our class discussion, we defined image as the conscious, deliberate attempt of an organization to convey its desired perception to its stakeholders. Our definition of image can be defined further by the concept Corporate Identity.   

 

 According to Birkigt and Stadler, Corporate Identity is the “strategically planned and operationally applied internal and external self-presentation and behavior of a company. It is based on an agreed company philosophy, long-term company goals, and a particular desired image, combined with the will to utilize all instruments of the company as one unit, both internally and externally.”   

How is Corporate Identity relevant to a company? Here are a few points given by Birkigt and Stadler:
• Raising motivation among employees
• Inspiring confidence among the company’s external target groups
• Acknowledging the vital role of customers
• Acknowledging the vital role of financial target groups   

After our class have defined what image is, we then defined reputation. Reputation is the actual perception of the stakeholders on an organization. We can define reputation further with the Corporate Image.   

 

 

According to Alvesson (1990), Corporate Image is “a holistic and vivid impression held by a particular group towards a corporation, partly as a result of information processing (sense-making) carried out by the group’s members and partly by the aggregated communication of the corporation in questions concerning its nature, i.e. the fabricated and projected picture of itself.”   

  

What kind of company would want to have this mention? 

We can then say that reputations can either be positive or negative because of the varying impressions of the diverse groups of stakeholders of an organization. What kind of company would want to have a negative reputation to its stakeholders? Of course, no company would ever want that! Let me now give you a list of the benefits of having a positive reputation:
• Customers as company advocates
• Stakeholders as long-term company associates   

  

Organizations need to listen

Reputation can also be equated and related to listening. Listening to an organization’s stakeholders is a key factor in the success of the organization. How does listening be of great help to an organization? Here are a few points:
• Listening will let the organization meet problem while still in the bud.
• Listening will give the organization suggestions for improvement of a product or service.
• Listening will provide the organization a resonance of their image.
• Listening will give the organization a view of how they fair with their competitors.
• Listening will let the organization reach out to its stakeholders.   

    

Online Reputation Management   

How can an organization listen to its stakeholders? The powers of the social media can help organizations listen to its stakeholders. Blogs, tweets, or online ad postings are only a few ways of how an organization use the social media. However, it should be noted that the social media is one big jungle, and that it may lead the organization to its downfall. Organizations should then know how to manage their presence online.   

Let me share with you our class discussion on how to conduct online reputation management. Online reputation management involves three stages: Listening, Analyzing, and Engaging.   

Stage 1: Listening
As I have talked about earlier, listening is one of the key factors in determining an organization’s success. Given all the enumerated functions of listening, it is definitely the initial stage of online reputation management.   

Stage 2: Analyzing
Analyzing can be done by answering the 4Ws: who, what, when, and where. (1) Who writes or mentions about the organization or about its brands? Are they opinion leaders of a particular sector? (2) What are they talking? Are they giving out positive or negative mentions of the organization or its brands? (3) When are they talking about the organization or its brands? (4) Where are they talking about the organization or its brands?   

Stage 3: Engaging
The last stage of online reputation management is about engaging the stakeholders. This stage involves the actions to be undertaken by the organization after listening and analyzing to its stakeholders. Positive reinforcement coming from the organization should be given to the people who mention positive things about the organization or its brands. They can do this by thanking the people or by giving them product incentives. On the other hand, people who mention negative things about the organization or its brands should be contacted offline. The organization can opt to talk with the people on their issues and concerns. 

  

On a final note, I’d like to ask you to reflect on this photo: 

 

  

Until next blog post! I still have a reputation to maintain. 🙂

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zid
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 15:30:16

    Building up one’s image is certainly no easy feat; even more so, a reputation. One has to make sure that what one attempts to convey to public must come out as planned. It’s so easy how things are misinterpreted or taken out of proportion after all. We know how the media (and the general public, for that matter) has the power to build you up and at the same time, tear you down. Image and reputation management is tricky and challenging but given a good sense of marketing and public relations, one can truly succeed.

    Reply

  2. xydc
    Aug 13, 2010 @ 12:33:22

    This is shallow, but I just want to share this. I think the the koala doesn’t want to go down the tree because people are used to seeing it on trees. It would violate the expectations of the people and may have either a positive or negative relational outcome to it. It could also be this way. If we take this into the context of personalities, a person may not befriend someone if he or she senses that that person may not have a positive reputation because his or her reputation might also be affected by it. You know, people are judgmental. We judge things from what and how we see them. 🙂 Same as with organizations, if organizations have an “evil” reputation (did you get the inside joke? :D), stakeholders will probably withdraw their relations with the organization and possible publics might not pursue their affiliation with it.

    Reply

  3. commania
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 08:04:27

    For a company, maintaining a good reputation is not an easy work after all. But redeeming yourself from a downfall is another thing. Reputation is very important since it reflects how much people wants you as a company. As future practitioners, we have to learn even by now the significance of maintaining a good impression of ourselves to other people so that when we get out of our campus and go to the world of business, we would be careful enough with our acts. We would be conscious with the decisions that we make and we would always be anticipating unexpected events that our companies might encounter. In such way, just by now, we already have ideas on how we would be able to save our companies from possible shortcomings. 🙂

    Reply

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