Reputation – quality or character as judged by its stakeholders
Reputation marketing and building a good reputation are absolutely essential, but for these not to be seen as cynical they must be underpinned by strong corporate values. Investment in reputation through corporate responsibility, employee engagement community programmes and sustainability processes are core building blocks, only then will it yield positive returns. Online and offline marketing efforts must be ethics-based in order to build strong reputational equity.
The marketing function’s priority is to build and maintain an organisation’s reputation. Responsible marketing is fundamental to a company’s business strategy in laying down foundations for what the company will and will not do. This builds an obligation and the commitment of all corporate functions.
Organisations need to put their stakeholders first and behave responsibly in all aspects of business so as to be withstand criticism.
When customers are looking for new products or services, be it B2B or B2C, they need the reassurance and confidence that they are making the correct decision based on the information they have to hand.
In today’s environment, organisations cannot act irresponsibly. The organisation’s mission, vision and values, together with all of its activities should encourage consumers to recognise that the organisation is acting responsibly, ethically and openly. Only then will an organisation become truly trusted and deliver a positive impact.
In developing, building, and protecting your reputation, the key principles which govern organisations today are:
- Choice / range: Support consumers in making sensible choices – ensure there is a wide product / service range available in all channels.
- Information: Assist consumers in making choices by providing simple, easy-to-read information.
- Balance: Re-inforce the sensible and appropriate use of your products / services.
- Honesty: Ensure honesty and transparency in all communication. Provide relevant and necessary information which will aid customers in making informed decisions.
- Marketing to children: Organisations should take care to respect the rights of parents and caregivers, and not market products to children under 12.
- Reviews / endorsements: Ensure reviews and endorsements stand up to scrutiny.