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Image courtesy of Flickr user marinephotobankMANAGINGCORPORATE REPUTATIONIN THE DIGITAL AGEProtecting and Harnessing Your ...
MANAGING CORPORATE REPUTATION   IN THE DIGITAL AGE                                                                        ...
The great majority of business decision-makers feel it is now much                 harder to manage newsflow and reputatio...
Nowadays… people have access                                                                                to not just gr...
visible on the top pages of search engines.                    Culture & OperationsIndeed, it is now possible for anyone w...
SIX KEY PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGING REPUTATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE                                                             ...
A forensic approach to assessing data also helps.                but just as quickly turning their backs once the cheque i...
gether with the mass adoption of mobile devices and so-        paign aims to engage consumers and other stakeholderscial m...
But what is a transparent corporation, and how do you go         tional „top-down‟ approach to internal communications,abo...
#6 Connect The Dots                                                                  In our experience, many organizations...
NEXT STEPS                                                                                              Image courtesy of ...
REFERENCES                                                                                                    Image courte...
About Burson-MarstellerBurson-Marsteller is the leading public relations consultancy for organizations communicating in As...
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Managing Corporate Reputation In The Digital Age

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The challenges of managing corporate reputation today, and the six key principles for organizations to keep in mind.

Managing Corporate Reputation In The Digital Age

  1. 1. Image courtesy of Flickr user marinephotobankMANAGINGCORPORATE REPUTATIONIN THE DIGITAL AGEProtecting and Harnessing Your Online and Offline Reputation 1 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  2. 2. MANAGING CORPORATE REPUTATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE Image courtesy WikipediaT he management of corporate reputation is facing Bullmore was referring chiefly to consumer brands, yet unprecedented challenges. Driven by ever higher corporate reputations are constructed in much the same expectations of good behavior and disclosure, manner. NGOs and activists, newly vocal consumers, zeal-ous regulators and disaffected employees are scrutinizing Today, the winds that distribute these scraps and strawscorporate behavior as never before. are increasingly forceful, blowing in from all directions and travel further and faster.Mainstream and social media are being used in increasing-ly sophisticated ways to draw attention to issues and mo- The principal monsoon winds impacting corporate reputa-bilize opinion; anyone can now broadcast their views in- tion are:stantly and broadly using the panoply of tools freely avail-able. And with journalists and other opinion-formers usingblogs, micro-blogs and other web-based media as coretools to track news and trends, seemingly anodyne issues Real-timecan be amplified instantly. In November 2010, rumors of a crash of a Qantas A380Furthermore, reputation is now global. What is said today swept across the Internet. These rumors were incorrect –in Sydney can impact sales tomorrow in Manchester. Vide- the plane‟s engine had only caught fire and it made anos leaked on the web of an altercation between a Chinesetrawler and a Japanese coast guard vessel immediately emergency landing in Singapore.jeopardized relations between the two governments. Yet, for a short while, rumor became news as people shared eyewitness accounts online, notably on Twitter,Having long believed they were largely in control of theirreputations, many organizations feel they are less able which were picked up and reported as fact by leading wirethan ever to manage their reputations and influence be- agencies and the mainstream media.havior. Previously the airline and its manufacturer would haveIn fact, the ability for companies to control their reputa- rushed to issue a holding statement to the media to con-tions has always been limited – after all, brands are built tain the story. But it had already gone viral, disseminatednot by companies, but by consumers, and not in ways that not by professional journalists but ordinary people un-a brand manager or communications staffer might want or bound by fact checking and boosted by trigger-happy re-expect. tweeting.As former JWT chairman Jeremy Bullmore points out, Not only are rumors spreading fast, they are also going“Consumers build an image as birds build nests. From thescraps and straws they chance upon".1 global at frightening velocity. Channeled through online 2 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  3. 3. The great majority of business decision-makers feel it is now much harder to manage newsflow and reputation, and that the Internet, social media and the need to respond extremely quickly are key challenges.communities and affinity groups and escalated via micro- reluctance to reveal how much oil was spilling into theblogs and search engines, and as the quality of online Gulf of Mexico is another. In both instances being per-translation tools improve, language is no longer the barrier ceived to have withheld the truth only made the situationsto information flow it once was. worse.According to a recent Burson-Marsteller study, the greatmajority of business decision-makers feel it is now muchharder to manage newsflow and reputation, and that theInternet, social media and the need to respond extremelyquickly are key challenges.2It is little wonder that many communications professionalsfeel on the back foot, able only to react to rather thanproactively shape opinion.TransparencyUnder pressure from governments, NGOs, activists andother stakeholders, organizations are being forced to bemore open about their activities. Enron, WorldCom andother corporate meltdowns forced financial disclosure intothe regulatory spotlight and, with taxpayers effectively Accountabilitybailing out companies, changed the notion of the „social In addition to transparency, many types of organizationscontract‟ between companies, government and society. are being made to be more accountable for their actions,Since then other issues – notably supply chain manage- and to involve stakeholders to a greater extent in the deci-ment and sustainability – have taken center stage. sion-making processes.Accordingly, it is significantly easier to see weak spots, Hong Kong-ers have a long history of political activism, becover inaccuracies and spot inconsistencies. And those it against the British colonialists, or more recently the SARorganizations that continue to limit their output to a PDF government. From mid-2009, groups of residents and ac-document consisting of little more than compliance check- tivists came together to protest advanced governmentboxes risk looking out of touch and even defensive. plans to develop an Express Rail Link between Hong KongIt is also much harder for organizations to keep secrets. In and Guangzhou in southern China. The line, they argued,an age when just about everything ends up as bits and was not needed, would be environmentally damaging andbytes, how easy it is now for employees or partners to overly expensive.copy documents or emails or leak confidential information Similar to recent events in the Middle East, the Hong Kongto the media, direct to the Internet or to WikiLeaks. protests were largely organized and amplified using toolsEqually, in times of trouble, it is tempting for organizations like Facebook and mobile phones. In this case, the protes-to turn inwards. Toyota‟s failure to disclose problems with tors gathered in front of the Hong Kong governmentfoot pedals across a number of its product lines, despite a headquarters and before Parliament, forcing the issue on-series of crashes and considerable mainstream media and to the front pages and back onto the government speculation, is a good example. BP‟s apparent initial 3 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  4. 4. Nowadays… people have access to not just greater amounts of information but also… much of the same information. Why, it is asked, should a corporate brand behave differ- ently, or have apparently different values, to the operating brands it owns? Image courtesy of Flickr user Melanie_koOf course, it is not just governments that are feeling the Professionalismheat - consider the problems Tata Motors faced from dis- NGOs and activists are becoming increasingly adept atplaced farmers (and, subsequently, activists, politicians using the plethora of channels and tools at their disposaland celebrities) when trying to open a new factory in Oris- to increase awareness of their campaigns and activities,sa, India, in 2008. Or the bouts of strikes over pay and organize and activate support and raise money.conditions suffered by Honda Motors at its car plantsacross mainland China in 2010 from workers who felt ig- As noted in Burson-Marsteller‟s Brand Vulnerability Index,nored. the more successful the brand, the higher the risk of it being challenged on environmental, social and humanConsistency right issues.4 According to Greenpeace, “targeting brands was like discovering gunpowder for environmentalists”.Until recently, organizations could communicate the sameinformation to employees, consumers and investors in In March 2010, Greenpeace published a new report stat-quite different ways, using different messages and sepa- ing Nestlé was buying palm oil from unsustainable sourcesrate channels. Information still largely travelled locally, so in Indonesia, the latest salvo in a long-running campaignthe chance of these messages getting into the „wrong‟ for sustainable palm oil.5hands was relatively low. This latest phase was launched using a combination ofNowadays, however, people have access to not just to conventional media relations, guerilla marketing and high-greater amounts of information, but also, thanks to the ly sophisticated use of the Internet and social media thatInternet and search engines, to much of the same infor- included the simultaneous launch of multiple websitesmation. across the world, each with localized materials for follow-There‟s also the ever greater array of gatekeepers busily ers to download and spread the message, hostile attackspatrolling Wikipedia and other key information gateways. on Nestlé social media channels, and an emotive video.6A mixture of true subject-matter experts and self- Within three weeks, over 1.5 million people had viewedappointed guardians, they see their role as recorders of the campaign on YouTube, over 200,000 emails had beenthe „truth‟ and exposers of corporate and mainstream me- sent to Nestlé, thousands of comments had been posteddia inconsistencies, half-truths or outright falsehoods. on Facebook and hundreds of calls had been made to theAll of this makes it much harder to communicate different- company. Shortly thereafter, Nestlé partnered with Thely among various audiences, as Goldman Sachs found Forest Trust to set the objective of achieving zero defor-when it was discovered to be betting against its clients in estation by 2015.the financial markets despite claiming that their „interests Such skills apply not only to well-known NGOs; bloggersalways come first‟.3 and other social media cognoscenti are also highly profi-But it also raises the bar on good corporate behavior, cient users of the tools of their trades, skilled at buildingwhich must now be ever more joined up. interest in their specific fields and ensuring their output is 4 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  5. 5. visible on the top pages of search engines. Culture & OperationsIndeed, it is now possible for anyone with a grievance to Some firms are well-suited to the new spirit of opennesspromulgate their issue or experience with little more than and authenticity – especially relatively flat organizationsa good nose for a story, a camera phone and Internet ac- that place a premium on internal knowledge-sharing andcess – a real potential challenge for all organizations, nor open external relationships.least those with poor quality products or customer care. It is now possible for anyone with a grievance to promulgate their issue or experience with little more than a good nose for a story, a camera phone and Internet access.Control Yet the majority of organizations are struggling to identify and put in place the appropriate structures, protocols andCompanies have long believed that they could control tools to meet the challenges set out above.their reputations. As we noted above, this has always Is social media principally about marketing? Or is it aboutbeen a myth. People make up their minds about a compa- reputation? If the latter, who‟s the spokesperson? Orny or brand on the basis of their own experiences togeth- should reputation building and management be more aer with those of their friends and acquaintances – Jeremy local prerogative, driven by grassroots staff? Who pays?Bullmore‟s scraps and straws – rather than what an adver- How to measure success?tising campaign or press release might tell them. Equally, do your employees understand whether or notThere is no question that the ability to manage one‟s rep- they are allowed to participate in online discussions in autation and brand online has become exponentially more professional capacity and, if so, understand the legal anddifficult with the current culture of online content sharing reputational consequences of their actions. Few firmsand manipulation. How simple it is to doctor a logo, mash- would want to experience their people recording them-up a video, establish a fake Twitter stream, mock or at- selves adding mucus to take-away pizzas and uploadingtack an individual - and to remain anonymous while doing the videos to YouTube, as Domino‟s suffered in the In this environment, conventional approaches to theprotection of copyright, privacy, even patents, are at best In this context, companies must also be conscious of em-muddy, hampered by a host of differing legal frameworks ployee loyalty. High staff turnover is generally indicative ofand approaches. a culture that fails to manage or reward its staff sufficient- ly, and disgruntled employees are much more likely to beIn the meantime, a strongly legalistic approach to control- publicly dismissive of their employers, or former employ-ling one‟s reputation can easily backfire, as Nestlé discov- ees, than those committed to the long-term.ered when it tried to have Greenpeace‟s Have a Breakpalm oil video removed from YouTube, or Barbara Strei-sand found out when she ordered pictures of her housesuppressed (the so-called „Streisand effect‟).7And how react to the @BPGlobalPR Twitter stream thatappeared during the oil giant‟s Mexico oil spill? The ac-count still exists and counts nearly 167,000 followers atthe time of writing, compared to 26,500+ for the firm‟sofficial channel.8,9 5 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  6. 6. SIX KEY PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGING REPUTATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE Image courtesy of Flickr user woodleywonderworksRecent research by Burson-Marsteller shows that most Traditionally, companies invest in focus groups and othercompanies‟ responses to the new reputational challenges market research tools to gather customer insights. Yet, despite the avalanche of discussions on the Internet – notraised by the Internet and other drivers outlined above least from those all-important customers and prospectivetend to be tactical and incremental.9 And most firms are customers - only an estimated 20% of companies arepoorly prepared for crises as they emerge and spread tracking what people say about them online. 13online.10, 11 A virtual focus group of thousands, even millions, the WebClearly, social media works better for some types of or- provides a real-time snapshot of what your customers andganizations than others. Studies show that „flat‟ companies other stakeholders think about you, your competitors andthat make decisions quickly and encourage internal and your industry. It can also yield an unparalleled glimpseexternal knowledge sharing report measurable benefits into what your stakeholders consider important in theirfrom their investment in social media, especially technolo- lives, providing a rich seam of information from which togy companies and business, legal and professional ser- develop products and hone your marketing and communi-vices firms.12 cations.Yet most organizations are less nimble and have yet to Of course, listening has long underpinned corporate repu-adopt the new mindset required. Here are some basic tation management, helping to identify broad societalprinciples for organizations of all types looking to manage shifts or develop a better understanding the specific inter-and grow their reputations today: ests and requirements of politicians, journalists and em- ployees. Yet the challenge today lies less in keeping one‟s eyes open but rather, given the pace of change and the#1 Listen Closely, And Be Seen titanic volumes of data and information at our disposal, inAs A Listener how to identify what really matters – be it a well- connected customer with a justifiable grievance, a forumAs Greenpeace discovered, consumers (rather than inves- post with real potential to damage or a discussion thattors or the media) largely drive perceptions about compa- uncovers a business opportunity.nies. Hence it is imperative that companies know and un-derstand what influences or shapes perceptions about This requires a clear idea of what you‟re looking for andthem. good knowledge of the tools to help strip away the clutter. 6 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  7. 7. A forensic approach to assessing data also helps. but just as quickly turning their backs once the cheque is written and the press release distributed. Dell‟s IdeastormBeyond listening, it can also pay to be seen as a listener. community can be regarded as successful not because itHaving experienced first-hand the power of the Web in provides an open forum for constructive discussion, butexposing faulty products, Dell launched Ideastorm, an because the firm is actively using ideas from the commu-online community where anyone can add and vote on ide- nity to re-invigorate its about how Dell can improve across any area of its busi-ness, from products to customer service to supply chain In addition, marketing rhetoric must match reality. As wemanagement.14 have seen, the scope for companies to say one thing and do another has narrowed, especially on sensitive or emo-Better still, Dell convinced its stakeholders that this would tive topics connected to the environment, human rights,be no empty vessel but a core tool in re-building its busi- supply chain management or customer and employeeness and its reputation. Since its launch in February 2007,users have contributed 15,000+ ideas, over 430 of which rights. It is vital to communicate in a manner that manag-have been implemented by the company. es expectations and does not over-state the case or steer people to think about or act on something that cannot be interpreted as representative. In a more networked world in which partial truths and untruths are dismantled all too easily, it is ever more critical that organizations are seen as genuine.#2 Be GenuineIn a more networked world in which partial truths anduntruths are dismantled all too easily, it is ever more criti-cal that organizations are seen as genuine. But what doesbeing genuine mean?At one level, being genuine is about aligning one‟s corpo-rate agenda and priorities with those of your core stake- www.refresheverything.comholders. It involves engaging stakeholders in dialogue andactivity – whether highly structured such as trade unionnegotiations or more open-ended online „jams‟ - that are #3 Engage Openlydeliberately and unambiguously designed to benefit allparties. Dell had the courage to engage its key stakeholders open- ly through its Ideastorm community, to manage their con-An example is Pepsi‟s Refresh program, which encourages versations only in the most limited sense and not to seekpeople to submit and vote on Arts & Music, Education and to close down discussions that were negative or might beCommunity ideas for the drinks company to fund.15 In ad- interpreted as awkward internally.dition to the healthy buzz that „genuine‟ cause-relatedcampaigns can achieve, it also helps that that stakehold- For many, reputation management means little more thaners feel involved in the decision-making process. ensuring that key stakeholders (notably investors, journal-Being genuine is also about doing something and being ists and employees) are kept properly appraised, appropri-committed to it. There is increasing public skepticism ate regulatory and best practice boxes are checked, andabout corporate „ambulance chasing‟ – companies opening that logos meet company guidelines. Yet the rise of civiltheir cheque-books for the next earthquake or disaster, society with their attendant rights and expectations, to- 7 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011 www.refresheveryth
  8. 8. gether with the mass adoption of mobile devices and so- paign aims to engage consumers and other stakeholderscial media that help air them, mean that there are sud- in fact-based and constructive discussions about the criti-denly thousands of constituencies that the company may cal role of energy in society.16 Google‟s Public Policy bloghave to consider. plays a major role in the company‟s efforts to convince policy-makers on the merits of its stance on topics such asClearly, in addition to the panoply of tools available for privacy, competition and broadband access. 17 Memorably,stakeholder engagement – from community workshops the blog served as the main public channel through whichand employee town halls to trade union negotiations and the technology firm announced its decision to review itspolitical committee hearings - social media provide a po- business operations in mainland China early in 2010.tentially powerful tool for reaching out to all sorts ofstakeholders. But which stakeholders? How best to define Even players in highly regulated industries are experi-and manage these communities? And in a culture that menting. While avoiding talking about its products, John-puts the onus on transparency, what might organizations son & Johnson‟s BTW blog looks to provide context onbe exposing themselves to in terms of reputation? what the company is doing, comments on industry trends The rise of civil society together with the mass adoption of mobile devices and social media mean that there are suddenly thousands of constituencies a company may have to consider.Just as companies have to prioritize their business deci- and corrects errors in the media and elsewhere.18sions, they must do the same when it comes to stakehold- Whatever the approach, building mutually beneficial rela-er engagement, carefully taking into account core and tionships with stakeholders requires a medium- to long-priority stakeholders and opinion-formers that can help or term view and should not be done on an ad hoc basis orhinder their corporate objectives and reputation. In partic- when you need it. This applies as much to social media asular, they need to know which stakeholders yield the other channels - if not more so - as the battle for heartsstrongest levels of influence and through which channels – and minds is played out in full increasingly nebulous task given the wider range ofactors and voices on many topics.They must also consider the appropriate channels andformats. Essential for engaging with online influencers, theInternet is rarely a focus when making the case for small-scale changes to legislation or needing to persuade atrade union of the benefits of a cost cutting program.On the other hand, customer service issues are increasing- www.willyoujoinus.comly played out online and companies have little option otherthan to manage complaints in public view. And, despite #4 Lift The Veillegal and communications challenges, firms risk appearing As we have seen, the expectations for organizations to beinept or secretive by not engaging with stakeholders more open about their business policies and activitiesonline during a crisis situation. have increased significantly in recent years, with the Inter- net playing a key role in leveling the information playingThe Internet and social media also offer organizations op- field and strengthening the hands of activists (and activistportunities to proactively manage and enhance their repu- investors), local communities and consumers.tations. For instance, Chevron‟s „Will you join us?‟ cam- 8 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  9. 9. But what is a transparent corporation, and how do you go tional „top-down‟ approach to internal communications,about creating one? carefully shaped and scrutinized by corporate communica- tions and HR. Instead, they should consider facilitatingIt‟s all too easy to say everything should be accessible, but more „bottom-up‟ and „side-to-side‟ contributions enabledin reality companies must tread a thin line between pro- by social media such as internal blogs, wikis and collabo-tecting confidential and competitive information and open- rative systems such as Chatter through which employeesing their corporate firewall, which simply tends to fuel ad- can share thoughts and ideas and initiate conversations.20ditional expectations onopenness. Likewise, corporate lead- Companies must tread a thin line ers can use these tools toListening closely to the de- between protecting confidential communicate, frame dis-mands of different stake- and competitive information and cussions and garner feed-holders and engaging them back from their people. opening their corporate firewall.sincerely in dialogue can And by talking not justhelp build initial trust, but a about company news orreal commitment to transparency must be sustained over industry trends but also about their personal interests andtime for it to be credible. activities, leaders can present a more human face. Howev- er, like any successful conversation, it must be sincere,A good place to start is within the company itself, notably based on real listening and be sustained.ensuring that the appropriate corporate governance poli-cies, internal controls and disclosure practices are in place Of course, transparency also applies to online corporateand that the Board has full access to the information it behavior. To build trust, individuals should always discloserequires. They must also consider their transparency strat- their names and affiliations when participating in onlineegy – to what extent can and should they disclose their conversations, and should scrupulously avoid rampingbusiness, social and political activities? conversations anonymously or via third parties, a practice that can easily backfire.At a broader level, employees need to know and believe intheir firm‟s vision, strategy and contribution; they shouldbe your most articulate and passionate brand ambassa- #5 Prepare Globallydors. Yet for many companies, internal communications is In today‟s digital age, an organization or individual‟s repu-less of a priority than keeping investors, regulators and tation is global as much as local. The Internet helps tothe media on side. spread news wide, with bad news traveling instantly amongst affinity groups and by language.A real commitment to keeping employees as fully ap-praised as possible on the firm‟s beliefs and activities – To prepare, companies need to understand the dynamicsthrough internal town halls, a rich and up-to-date intranet of these communities and how they work together as anor internal newsletters – can help build trust internally, ecosystem. In addition, they must analyze and under-limit negative word-of-mouth and reduce employee churn. stand sources of influence and the types of informationNonetheless, these tools may no longer be sufficient. that motivate these communities and the key individualsYounger „Generation Y‟ staff and graduates expect em- within them, both locally and globally.ployers to offer them the same level of engagement and Firms must also be in a position to respond effectively ontransparency as they experience on Facebook. They be- a global scale. As Burson-Marsteller has shown, social me-lieve that they too have a voice, and are accustomed to dia-fueled issues and crises are on the rise, especially inusing it. And if they can‟t voice their feelings internally, a Asia where a clear majority of executives anticipate a seri-gripe on Facebook or an anonymous post to a company ous crisis impacting their organizations in the next twelvereview site such as Glassdoor are all too appealing an op- months.21 Yet most companies feel they have little ideation.19 how best to deal with them.Companies, then have to think carefully about the tradi- As a priority, organizations should establish the govern- 9 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  10. 10. #6 Connect The Dots In our experience, many organizations focus internal- ly and on „conventional‟ opinion-formers in the govern- ment, industry and media to identify potential market- place, operational and other weaknesses and vulnerabili- ties. Given the ever greater array of stakeholder groups influ- encing sales and reputation, companies would benefit from taking a broader view of their audiences and influ- encers to include NGOs and bloggers. And as information flows continue to accelerate through greater use of smartphones and as consumers extend and deepen their embrace of social media, it also pays to have Burson-Marsteller 2011 Crisis Preparedness Study a close understanding of core customers‟ interests, re- quirements and behaviors.ance infrastructure that that will govern participation in For instance, an important customer segment appears tosocial media across the organization on an ongoing basis – be increasingly concerned about human rights or the envi-most typically a company-wide social media policy – and ronment, chiming in with activist statements, or a keyensure that not just marketing, communications and cus- online influencer is starting to question product marketingtomer service teams in the front lines but also their broad claims by a business unit in another country.employee base fully understand the do‟s and don‟ts. In this complex world, companies must approach reputa-They must also consider carefully how social media sits tion management as a multi-disciplinary, cross-functionalwithin and across their organization and ensure that their effort that is closely managed and co-ordinated at a seniorcore customer-facing teams are properly prepared through level. At it must be driven across the organization on ancustomized social media education programs. Firms are ongoing basis, rather than as a one-off exercise.also putting in place cross-functional steering committeesor corporate centers of excellence that develop strategy,co-ordinate teams and share best practices.From a reputational standpoint, firms need to have a clearpicture on their vulnerabilities, and will benefit from identi-fying and prioritizing the issues that may impact them andmap out the responses in terms of triggers, messages andapproval processes. They will also likely need an acceler-ated approach to issues escalation and, in some instances,a more flexible messaging architecture.They must also make sure that the tools are in place tohelp spot and tackle issues early - most notably a socialmedia monitoring system (or systems) that can scour theweb for relevant discussions and mentions across multiplelanguages and markets – as well as the channels throughwhich to help contain issues and respond effectively dur-ing a crisis. 10 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  11. 11. NEXT STEPS Image courtesy of Flickr user oksayHere are some steps an organization can take to start strengthening its corporate reputation:1. Understand Your AudiencesFew organizations get a grip on what their audiences think about them, beyond those they already know well. It isalso important to appreciate their behaviors in terms of preferred sources of information, approaches to research andrelative spheres of influence - both online and offline. What people say and do online does not necessarily reflect theiroffline lives.2. Assess Your Communications Infrastructure & CapabilitiesUnderstand how well equipped your internal and supplier teams are to plan and use social media, build relationshipsin the online environment (including leveraging existing offline relationships), and track, analyze, escalate and man-age online discussions. This is in addition to your communications infrastructure that includes dedicated resource toundertake regular assessments and monitoring of your corporate reputation offline and online.3. Identify and Minimize GapsIdentify the gaps between your overall communications objectives and plan, and your current social mediaknowledge, skills, systems, processes and tools. Look to strengthen weaknesses through training, recruitment or byimproving internal decision-making processes and procedures. Ultimately, your integrated communications goals needto support your company‟s business objectives.4. Re-design Policies, Procedures and ToolkitsMake sure your current communications infrastructure is up-to-date and sufficiently flexible to meet todays reality.This may include the introduction of a corporate social media policy, the development of social media playbooks, in-teractive, self-guided training programs and updating your issues and crisis communications protocols.5. Communicate Employee Roles and ResponsibilitiesIt is very easy, and tempting, for employees to share their own views and experiences on company-related issues onthe Internet. It is vital that your people are aware of the evolving legal framework (in some countries) governing dis-closure to bloggers, their professional and personal responsibilities and the broad principles of communicating online.6. Cascade LearningsWhile often the best way to develop capabilities in any area is through the implementation of actual communicationsprograms, also consider how best to develop a system for sharing social media knowledge and learnings within andacross your communications teams, and ensuring these stay top of mind. 11 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  12. 12. REFERENCES Image courtesy of Flickr user Stewart1 Jeremy Bullmore - Posh Spice & Persil, December 20012 Burson-Marsteller – Reputation In the Cloud Era: Digital Crisis Communications Study, June 20113 Goldman Sachs – Business Principles4 Burson-Marsteller – Brand Vulnerability Index, June 20105 Greenpeace – Caught Red-handed, March 20106 Greenpeace – Have a Break?7 Burson-Marsteller – Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study, October 201011 Burson-Marsteller, Penn Schoen Berland – Reputation in the Cloud Era, August 201112 McKinsey – How Companies Are Benefitting from Web 2.0, September 200913 Meltwater – The Future of Content, November 201014 http://www.ideastorm.com15 http://www.refresheverything.com16 http://www.glassdoor.com20 http://www.chatter.com21 Burson-Marsteller, Penn Schoen Berland – Reputation in the Cloud Era, August 2011 12 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
  13. 13. About Burson-MarstellerBurson-Marsteller is the leading public relations consultancy for organizations communicating in Asia-Pacific and inter-nationally. With a presence in the region dating back to 1973, Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific today includes 35 officesand affiliates in 16 countries integrated seamlessly into a global network operating in 109 countries. Our Evidence-Based approach to communications provides our clients with effective, data-driven programs delivered through multi-ple channels and focused on tangible, measurable results. Our regional team of more than 700 professionals offers apowerful combination of local knowledge, sector expertise and global communications reach. Burson-Marsteller, es-tablished in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young &Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the worlds leading communications services network.Talk to usFor further information on this report, or for help on how to manage your corporate reputation, please contact:Charlie PownallManaging Director (Asia-Pacific), Digital CommunicationsTel: +852 2963 5686Email: charles.pownall@bm.comTwitter: @cpownall 13 Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific November 2011
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The challenges of managing corporate reputation today, and the six key principles for organizations to keep in mind.


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