Building Corporate Image And Reputation (Guide)

Corporate reputation is a ‘soft’ concept. It is the overall estimation in which an organization is held by its internal and external stakeholders based on its past actions and probability of its future behavior. The organisation may have a slightly different reputation with each stakeholder according to their experiences in dealing with the organization or in what they have heard about it from others.

Many organizations put the importance of a good reputation to the back of their minds while they attend to more hard-edged, day-to-day urgencies. On the other hand, many organizations consider their greatest asset to be their good name or reputation. 

This is especially true in knowledge-based organizations such as professional services firms in the consulting, legal, medical, and financial sectors and in universities. They work actively to build their good reputation, to build the ‘bank of goodwill’ towards them.

Corporate Image And Reputation Building Is A Two-Pronged Concept:

Thus, monitoring and influencing the social and internal reputation of a business or brand as well as addressing of negative mentions or reviews. The main benefits of a good corporate reputation can be found in:
  • Customer preference in doing business with you when other companies’ products and services are available at a similar cost and quality;
  • Your ability to charge a premium for products and services;
  • Stakeholder support for your organization in times of controversy;
  • Your organization’s value in the financial marketplace.

A business can achieve its objectives more easily if it has a good reputation among its stakeholders, especially key stakeholders such as its largest customers, opinion leaders in the business community, suppliers and current and potential employees. If your organization is well regarded by your main customers, they will prefer to deal with you ahead of others. 

And these people will influence other potential customers by word of mouth. Suppliers will be more inclined to trust in your organization’s ability to pay and to provide fair trading terms. If any problems occur in their trading relationship with you, your suppliers will be more inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt when you have a reputation for fair dealing. 

Likewise, government regulators will trust you more if you have a good reputation, and they will be less inclined to punish you if you trip up along the way. And clearly, a potential employee will be more likely to sign up with you if you have a good reputation for your treatment of staff compared with an employer who may have an equivocal reputation.

The reputation of a business is essential to its survival. The trust and confidence of the consumer can have a direct and profound effect on a company’s bottom line. Recently, the importance of reputation has become increasingly apparent, as companies such as BP and Toyota have had to cultivate their responses to crises in order to maintain the reputation and standing of their companies to the world.


In the past, businesses relied on word of mouth by their stakeholders in order to establish, build and maintain their reputations. In this modern age of social networking, websites, and other methods of instant communication, businesses must be conscientious of their reputations on a constant basis and be responsive to any crisis that may have an impact on their reputation.

While an intangible concept, having a good reputation can benefit a business in a multitude of ways. Aside consumer preference which support an organization in times of crisis or controversy, a good reputation increases the future value of an organization in the marketplace. 

Thus, the reputation of an organization can enable a company to differentiate its product in highly competitive markets, allowing it to have premium pricing, and can become the ultimate factor in whether a customer decides to patronize one business over another. Similarly, if an organization has a good reputation in the marketplace, consumers may have a preference for that company even if there are similar businesses offering the same products or services for different prices.

For example, research shows, that due to an increased demand for healthier foods, organic products, and more environmentally friendly food, companies have begun to distinguish their products through food labeling, and are noticing that consumers are willing to pay a premium price for labels that are considered to have more of a prestigious reputation than others.

Think about the last time you were going out for dinner and wanted to try a new restaurant. Why did you choose that restaurant? If you are like most people, you probably searched online or looked at various review sites for a restaurant with good to great reviews and therefore a good reputation. 
While having a positive online reputation is great for restaurants - who rely on good reviews to pull customers in - does it really matter for your business?

We all know that the modern customer and business relies on the Internet to find products and services they need. They utilize review platforms, social media and even your website to form an opinion about the businesses they find and ultimately purchase from.

This opinion is often swayed by aspects like where your business shows up on search results, website layout and content, social media presence, and even reviews and listings. Regardless of what you say or do, your reputation - online or otherwise - matters. The good news is you have the power to manage it. If you are just starting a new business or looking to start managing your reputation, the best place to begin doing so is online. 

The reason for this is because the Internet is where the vast majority of people post their reviews and look for information and develop their opinions. By having a blog that is regularly updated with articles that cover everything from what your company is doing (PR) to how you use systems or even observances about the markets or products helps in establishing you as an expert. The key here is that articles need to be regular - at least twice a week - and relevant to the reader.


When looking at reputation management, experts agree that there are three different kinds businesses do:

Building - Typically carried out by businesses that are new or who are trying to build a good or reliable brand or name for themselves.

Maintenance - This form of management is carried out by companies who already have an established reputation they and their customers view as good. The goal is to keep, or maintain this reputation.

Recovery - If your reputation has taken a hit through bad reviews or any other reasons, this is the form of reputation management you should be employing. It largely consists of good marketing and self promotion with the aim of helping you recover.

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your reputation. You are going to need to work hard on it, with near daily updates and monitoring - and be patient. Many experts agree that it will take at least three months for you to see any results, and possibly years to see a truly solid reputation established.

You aren't going to establish a reputation by doing nothing. Get out there and promote your company as much as you can. The reputation of a business depends on a number of factors, including ensuring that the business delivers on its promises to customers and vendors. Being transparent, trustworthy and responsive are essential to the survival of any company. 

While considered to be an intangible asset, maintaining a positive reputation is fundamental to the profitability, relevance, and existence of your business. Bad word-of-mouth, lack of response to a crisis, and lack of transparency can rapidly decimate the reputation of a company, so it is essential that business owners be steadfast in maintaining goodwill to their stakeholders.

If you have already established your reputation, you should be focusing on protecting or maintaining it.While encouraging customers to write reviews online is good, you can't control what they write. So, it is best to monitor what is being said and try to respond to negative reviews the best way you can.

The better option would be to turn to what you can control: Search rankings. Try posting more informative and relevant articles and content. This will take longer, but it will pay off. It is important to note that, whiles some businesses trust reputation management companies, others choose to trust apps like Google Alerts, Monitor. The key is to look for a solution that works for you. If you are too busy to do it yourself, a management company may be a good idea.

Even if you don't rely on the Internet, it's important to know that your customers do. You should be taking steps to monitor your reputation online - especially where your customers are. The key here is to try to maintain the status-quo. 

If you have been doing something that works for your reputation keep doing it, don't give up. If something is moderately successful, try tweaking it to see how small improvements work with your customers.


Key Components Of Organizational Reputation:

Ethics: the organization behaves ethically, is admirable, is worthy of respect, and is trustworthy.
Financial performance: the organization is financially strong, has a record of profitability, and has growth prospects.
Leadership: the organization is a leader rather than a follower, and is innovative.
Management: the organization is well managed, has high quality management, and has a clear vision for the future.
Customer focus: the organization cares about and is strongly committed to customers.
Quality: the organization offers high quality products and services.
Reliability: the organization stands behind its products and services, and provides consistent service.

Maintaining the reputation of a company through social media for instance, takes time and requires educating stakeholders within the organization, making them aware of a company’s internal values and key messages that need to be conveyed as well as creating a united, consistent voice. Before the age of social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, the reputation of a business mostly relied on word-of-mouth or carefully cultivated campaigns by public relations and marketing firms.

As a business leader, you must trust someone to have the ability to become the “face” for the organization on a social networking website. Choose someone who will have the time to dedicate toward updating and maintaining the social networking site as well as responding to customer inquiries or complaints.

Taking ownership of your social media sites will give you the control you need to manage the conversation and quickly respond to feedback. Monitoring and responding to customers and resolving issues quickly will go a long way toward establishing a positive reputation for your organization.


Organizations looking to build their reputations can do so by keeping their word no matter what in terms of providing services, paying vendors when they are due, and keeping promises to customers. This will help solidify and build credibility with customers.

Correspondence such as letters, emails, voicemails and other methods of communication should be direct and to the point. Use correct spelling and grammar and leave contact information for the customer and company information such as full name, address, phone, fax, website URL, toll-free number, hours and other vital information.

Also return calls and answer emails promptly, letting the customer know their importance to you and your organization. Moreover, never make excuses or place blame on the customer if it is an issue that is the fault of you or the company. An irate customer can become your biggest ally if you make an effort to resolve errors or mistakes as quickly as possible.

The customer is the reason you remain in business, you are there to serve them so ignoring them will turn them away. If the customer is angry or upset, ignoring them is 100% the wrong thing to do, it makes it look like you simply don't care.

So, you should aim at been prompt with responses and always try to address everything. Yes, this isn't possible all of the time, but if you try to get to everything people will be more likely to view you in a more positive light thus giving you a better reputation.

The best way to get reviews is if a client enjoys your products or services and says so, either in person or online. Encourage them to write a review on the various relevant review sites. If you see reviews or comments that could be particularly damaging don't get into a fight with them. 

Many reputations have been ruined when the manager of the business sees a negative comment (maybe not even from a troll), gets angry and fires back on social media or another site. This makes them, and the company look unprofessional and will turn people away.What you should instead do is acknowledge the comment as a feedback and encourage the poster to contact you directly and through a more private channel like email or in person.

If the comment is slightly negative e.g., someone had a bad meal at your restaurant or poor service, acknowledge it and tell them how you will fix it. Of course, giving them a discount on their next purchase won't hurt either. Furthermore, offering free services to loyal customers and paying attention to details and preferences of the customer can go a long way towards establishing your company’s reputation in the market.

Finally, generosity to local organizations such as non-profits can also go a long way toward building and establishing the reputation of your organization. Community service can include providing a service pro bono or donating money, time or food for an event or fundraiser.

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