Five Steps to Shaping Your Reputation Strategy

Five Steps to Shaping Your Reputation Strategy

Selina Jardim

Selina Jardim

Looking to shape your reputation strategy? Implementing a reputation shaping programme can seem daunting, but for most organisations, it's a matter of following five clear steps from theory to practice. Depending on your business, this task might fall to the CEO, Founder, Communications Manager or Marketing Manager to work closely with their PR agency to develop and implement this plan.

We’ve seen firsthand how this proven process offers clear outputs and brings clarity to an area that has traditionally been hard to define. Here are the five key steps to help develop your reputation shaping strategy.

1. Exploration & Alignment

At this stage, you’re looking for allies and similar programmes to avoid reinventing the wheel. With marketing managing funnels, HR engaged in staff retention and wellbeing, and finance monitoring performance, it’s vital to align and deduplicate your reputation shaping programme with similar initiatives to bring people on board.

2. Strategy & Objectives

When reviewing your reputation strategy, it’s important to not only identify opportunities, such as reducing customer churn and increasing cross-selling, but also to assess any risks. Small actions such as actively engaging with external communities, or employee surveys that unearth genuine issues, can bring unintended consequences. So, fix and focus on clear objectives, avoiding diversionary rabbit holes as they appear.

Have a written statement that encapsulates the ‘why’ on the activity you’re undertaking, not simply the ‘what’.

3. Building the Case & Prioritising

By using data from your ‘allies’ in step one, and carrying out unique benchmarking to fill the gaps, you’ll be in a good place to present the business case to your executive team. You’ll need to explain where the gaps are and what the potential impact could be if you’re not addressing a poor reputation in key areas.

This is the stage where you must prioritise areas that need fixing, fast. For example, you might have great employee morale, but half of your customers may be disgruntled. Think of this as a reputation valuation – a crucial element of reputation management in business.

4. Management & Implementation

Once the drivers and intended outcomes are established, it’s time to assign ownership of all things reputation. This involves communicating the purpose and importance of the reputation management programme as a fundamental business metric across your organisation.

Individual functions or business units may need the big picture objective made relevant to them at a micro level, as individual reputation shaping strategies they’re being asked to feed in to may be greeted with scepticism in isolation.

5. Measurement & Improvement

As well as keeping stakeholders informed via periodic updates and formal regular reporting, you’ll have created a framework for continuing to improve the health of your company reputation. It must include the flexibility to steer the ship in response to changing market and competitor factors, without knee jerk reactions to external events or the unexpected from within your organisation.

Importantly, it shouldn’t be seen as a barometer of ‘how things have gone’ but making progress on a continuing journey.

Conclusion

This structured approach to your reputation strategy ensures that your company’s efforts are aligned with existing initiatives, strategically focused, and continuously improving – thus safeguarding and enhancing your company's reputation over the long term.

By enlisting the services of an experienced PR agency to help effectively unpack and implement these five steps, your organisation can successfully embark on a reputation-shaping strategy that will yield enormous benefits for your employees, customers, stakeholders and ultimately your bottom line.

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