You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” ~ W. Edwards Deming, scholar and teacher in American academia.

Many organisations are daunted by the idea of exposing themselves to reputation research that will give them the cold hard facts. Little do they realise that by validating their ‘gut’ feeling with numbers helps them to put SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) action plans in place to ultimately have a stronger, solid and more balanced reputation. An organisation’s reputation should be nurtured and maintained, and every 12 months may be a good idea to take stock to ensure that the organisation’s reputation is steered in the right direction.

The benefits of conducting research are endless. “Reputation management is like exercising for the Comrades. Unfortunately, you will not finish the race if you haven’t worked on a training programme, geared yourself with the right running shoes or adjusted your diet to make sure that it matches your training and individual needs,” says Regine le Roux, Managing Director at Reputation Matters. “It all starts with becoming research fit and assessing what the organisation’s strengths and weaknesses are,” she explains.

A holistic look should be taken at all aspects of the business to determine what is building or breaking down its reputation. Reputation Matters developed a model called the Repudometer® that scientifically measures organisation’s reputations, based on an assessment of ten elements of the business that impacts reputation. These elements include leadership, employees, strategic partnerships, value offering and communication aspects.

“Reputation is all about perceptions. Regardless if the perceptions are based on the truth, they form the realities of your key stakeholders. It is important for organisations to realise that different stakeholders can make different assessments and that not all role players will share the same view of your business’ reputation,” says Le Roux. “When businesses measure their reputations, it shows that they are interested in fostering a relationship with their stakeholders and deem their inputs as important in looking for ways to build even closer, mutually beneficial relationships.”

Le Roux shares three tips for organisational research engagements:

  • Don’t think that reputation research will require you to send yet another survey. Depending on the needs, organisations could consider conducting focus groups or telephonic interviews.
  • If you decide to go the questionnaire route, be smart about it and combine some of the questions from your satisfaction surveys distributed throughout the year as to avoid that stakeholders get too many emails and get survey fatigued.
  • Research does not have to be an expensive or tedious process. Research organisations have different research packages for your needs and to accommodate different budgets. It could also be a painless exercise when working with a company that has a sleek process in place that includes a proper brief to confirm the who, what, where, when, why and how questions.

“With a quantifiable reputation score, you would be able to present figures to your management team that will have a much greater impact than the softer issues that communication management is usually associated with. If you truly treasure your organisation’s reputation, you should measure it and put strategic action plans in place to help take it to the next level,” says Le Roux.

With the Festive Season drawing near, Reputation Matters is offering organisations the opportunity to invest in a Reputation Check, a short check list to determine the health of their reputations, while at the same time giving back to a charity of their choice. “Organisations that invest in the Reputation Check over the November and December period this year will be gifted an additional Reputation Check to give to their registered charity of choice. The results will enable the businesses to help take their reputation to the next level and improve their relationships with their key stakeholders,” concludes Le Roux.