The world of corporate communications is changing.
No longer a tactical delivery arm or fire-fighting function, corporate communications practitioners are now expected to be strategic advisors, feeding reputational considerations into business decision-making and operations.
The fact that a strong reputation leads to growth and differentiation isn’t new. After all, it’s common sense that increased trust from the likes of customers and employees can result in loyalty and greater propensity to recommend. Increased trust contributes to purchasing decisions from consumers. It can result in benefit of the doubt and backing from financial stakeholders and NGOs. It also helps make the case for freedom from regulation.
So why is it now that reputation promotion and protection is a greater focus for businesses? Well, growth is at premium for many companies and operating environments are often unpredictable, as a result, brands are looking to squeeze every last drop out of reputation. They are also looking to head off at the pass those reputational risks that could hamper commercial growth.
What does this mean for corporate comms? In theory, the function is an organization’s custodian of reputation. In practice, some may have to step up to meet the new challenge. To do so means understanding business strategy and operations inside and out, and crafting comms plans accordingly. It means being able to advise on reputational risks – not only having the tools and business intelligence to inform recommendations, but being able to factor the businesses’ risk appetite into counsel. It means helping business units factor reputation into day to day management. It means having a handle on all audiences which can impact success. What exactly do they think of the business now and how do you need to shift perceptions to enable growth? In short, it means corporate comms ensuring reputation management is a vital component of business plans and operations.
So how do you, your team and your organization stack up?
This isn’t a rhetorical question.
At LEWIS we’ve developed a Corporate Reputation Tracker for those interested in benchmarking existing capabilities against best practice. We invite you to complete a short survey covering key areas of reputation promotion and protection.
We have aimed to provide useful food for thought along the way. Thanks – we hope you find it helpful!
By Dan Masser, Head of Corporate Communications at LEWIS
About the author:
Dan is a strategic communications and reputation management specialist with over 15 years’ experience handling a range of challenges from corporate repositioning and stakeholder advocacy, to creative campaigning, and issues and crisis management.