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Reputation Isn’t In What’s Written…

I’m not sure why research firms are so desperate to attach the word Reputation to their efforts when in fact the research has little to do with reputation. Despite the media’s willingness to promote these desperate efforts, it does their own reputation no good at all with the final reader who I am hoping is smart enough to see straight through the nonsense.

Take the latest… drum roll… Delahaye Media Reputation Rankings… If you accept that this nothing more that flagrant self promotion then no need to read on. If you actually think this is right, I’d like to suggest you think again.

The tone and quantity of of coverage is not an indicator of reputation. Reputation – like brand – sits sqaurely in the minds of constituents. Your reputation is something your customers possess – they give it back to you in the form of loyalty, respect, trust… and much more. You can manage your reputation, much like you manage your brand. And you might choose PR as one of the tactics by which to do that.

Where reputation does not exist is in a news clipping. Some argue that media coverage reflects reputation. I have a real problem with this notion. Coverage in whatever form is nothing more than an opinion or view, right or wrong, distorted by the stark commercial realities of the media. Suggesting that coverage is a manifestation of your reputation entirely ignores the construct in which new is created and the very requirements under, and in which, journalists are expected to create stoires. Connecting news clippings to reputation in this way suggests some kind of pure nirvana in which news represents, absolutely, the truth about a company or individual. Which we know it doesn’t.

Aside from just really annoying marketing, this is dilutes the importance of reputation management. Wit the headline of the Delahaye press release: Microsoft Earns Best Corporate Reputation in the Media According to Delahaye Index. What nonsense. You generate lots of coverage and by default you’ve got the best corporate reputation? What garbage.

4 Responses

  1. By Ed O’Meara on August 23rd, 2005 at 6:48 am

    AMEN !

  2. By David Phillips on August 24th, 2005 at 5:15 am

    Andy
    One takes your point but do we really understand ‘Reputation’?
    My take is “The significance of attributes inherent in relationships, brands, reputation, IP, process knowledge and capital is that they are the elements that describe the assets of an organisation.” This take PR into the realm of asset management and it is a brave practitioner that goes there as the Relationship Value Model shows.
    Personally, as you may guess, I am all for it.

  3. By Paul Bergevin on August 25th, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    Andy,

    Spot on! Even more ridiculous than MS coming out on top in this so-called reputation survey was Wal-Mart placing second! What planet are these people living on?

  4. By Mark Dill on August 29th, 2005 at 10:29 am

    Hi Andy. Interesting report from Delahaye. Reminds me of a sports marketing analysis company that associated company name exposure on television broadcasts with purchased ad time. The theory was that the cumulative seconds your brand name was visible equated to the cost of actually purchasing the same amount of commerical time in the same broadcast. Flawed, but the desire for sponsorship manager to come up with some kind of ROI drives it, and people wanting to sell yet another service jump on board.

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