The reputation of a company or institution is not its self-image, but the general regard or opinion which its consumers, community, and external stakeholders have of it. Reputation (or esteem or good name) is an intangible view of the organization developed over time, which comes from two major sources – for consumers, suppliers, employees and shareholders, from direct experience; and for the external community (government, media, financial sector and public), from information. Companies or institutions which behave ethically and are well governed build a reputational capital – an asset that gives the company a competitive advantage. Profitability is enhanced because a company highly regarded for being reliable, credible, trustworthy and responsible does attract more consumers, investors and skilled employees.

“Reputation” (Good Name) differs from “Brand” (Product Name), in that it is less susceptible to promotion, advertising and public relations, being more about consistently doing than saying and doing; about action, not spin. Which is not to say that Reputational Management does not work. The company or institution can be proactive in several ways:

  • Reinforce its pursuit of performance excellence with a values-based culture
  • Treat and protect its reputation as strategic capital requiring leadership’s continued attention
  • Enhance its listening skills to learn of emerging issues, and to develop an early-warning system
  • Reinvigorate its understanding of, and relationships with, its key stakeholders
  • Use sophisticated online technologies to connect with its community, and genuinely reach out to their current concerns
  • Deploy the CEO as the human face of the company, since his/her reputation is intertwined with the organization’s
  • Communicate genuinely and credibly, both internally and externally
  • Motivate and train employees to deliver a positive experience to each consumer, in line with company values and culture


While a company’s good name or reputation cannot be built by throwing money at the policy, its fundamental importance demands that it underpins commercial, marketing, communications, product, operations and HR strategy.

Seems the best way to protect or enhance our reputation is to behave well! Just as Grandad taught us!