Does your organisation truly value its reputation? Is enough being done to assess, strengthen and protect that reputation? Are you considering reputational opportunities and risk across all dimensions – from financial, HR and operational to commercial, political, societal and environmental? If you are taking the time to reflect on reputation at the end of this turbulent year and plan for the year to come, these are great questions to lead your thinking.
Without a strong reputation you might not have customers to buy or endorse your products and services. Or shareholders and financial analysts to buy or recommend your stock. Or regulators that continue giving you license to operate. Or employees to help deliver on your growth strategy. The list goes on. Ultimately, is your corporate reputation improving your operating leverage?
Corporate reputation matters and if you are unsure do not wait to be prepared for 2018. Take action now. Consider what you can do to put your organisation in a more agile position to take full advantage of future opportunities, while also being prepared for potential challenges and setbacks. These questions can get you started:
- Do you fully understand your current reputation?
Every organisation should have the means to be able to assess its reputation either on a real-time basis or at regular intervals. Take time to explore the tools and methodologies that already exist, as taking stock of your reputation can help pave the way to the reputation you want to achieve tomorrow. It will help you develop the right reputational strategy and identify issues before they become full-blown crises. Have you taken stock of your reputation today?
- Should your corporate narrative evolve next year?
Your corporate narrative should be the backbone of your reputation. It should define how you desire to be seen, heard, understood and perceived as an organisation, and it can open doors for meaningful stakeholder engagement. It should also connect your organisation to a broader context. Are you comfortable that your current narrative has resonance both internally and externally?
- Do you really know your stakeholders today?
Do you know enough about your stakeholders? If the going gets tough would you know enough to be able to galvanize your ‘allies’, motivate your ‘agnostics’ and neutralise any ‘antagonists’? Segmentation of your audiences is now more critical than ever and should be a crucial element of your forward planning and in how you shape your narrative to reach the audiences you want.
- Do you have the right channels and platforms set up to reach key stakeholders?
In an era of ‘fake news,’ citizen journalism and digital manipulation, fuelled by the accessibility and spontaneity of social media, communicating to your audiences is not getting any simpler. Do you know where your stakeholders go to learn more about your organisation? In addition, what sources they trust? Are you plugged into the channels that matter? When was the last time you thoroughly examined the channels for your narrative and engagement with key stakeholders? Get on top of your channel and platform strategy, and keep your options open.
A new year is about to unfold. Time to get busy.
FTI Consulting in Brussels offers a comprehensive range of services to help organisations assess, strengthen and protect corporate reputation, particularly during key moments of change brought about by such things as an acquisition or divestment, entry into a new market, a new product launch, repositioning, a leadership change, or a regulatory change or threat. For more information, please contact Simon Dibb at Simon.Dibb@fticonsulting.com or see our Corporate Reputation services brochure here.