What is your organisation’s reputation score?

The
average corporate reputation score of last year’s reputation research studies conducted
by Reputation Matters, a proudly
African reputation research company, was 78.4%, a 2.2% decline from 2017
(80.6%). This score is based on ten reputation studies conducted amongst
internal and external stakeholder groups across different industries in South
Africa during the course of 2018, compared to nine studies in 2017.

“Before we start patting ourselves on the
back that the average corporate reputation score for 2018 is a distinction, we
appreciate that the sample of ten is most certainly not representative of all
businesses in South Africa. It does however highlight the conundrum that many
who work within the reputation management space are faced with; not everyone
wants their reputation measured or managed,” says Regine le Roux, managaging
director of Reputation Matters.

Decision makers of reputation studies either
believe that things are so dire within the organisation that there would first
need to be drastic changes before investing in a reputation research study, or
on the other side of the specrum, they believe that their reputation is
perfect.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in
corporate South Africa taking an interest in their reputations. Unfortunately those
who really need to, aren’t. It should become common practice for organisations
to know and share their reputation scores,” advises le Roux.

Le Roux mentions that reputation research
will assist business owners and CEO’s who believe that things aren’t as
pristine as it should be in their organisations. “The data helps form a base to
work from and it identifies priority areas within the organisation that needs
extra focus, especially when recovering from a crisis situation. For those on
the other side of the spectrum with a spotless reputation, the results will
provide bragging rights based on scientific research, and also help the
business to be proactive and navigate any uncertaintly that could result in a crisis
scenario that could catapult them quite quickly into the disaster zone,” says
le Roux.

The year
that was, 2018

Reputation Matters’
robust measurement tool, the
Repudometer®, measures ten dimensions
of an organisation that statistically works out what your organisation’s
reputation is. “A reputation is not just about clever marketing and public
relations, it is taking a serious look inside the organisation first before
engaging in any type of communication with stakeholders,” adds le Roux.

The main reason
for the decline in the research results from 2017 to 2018 is related to the purpose
of the business. There was a substantial drop of 3.4% around this aspect.

Stakeholders require
a lot more information in terms of an organisation’s purpose, both in terms of their strategic intent, for
example, where the organisation is going and how they are going to get there, as
well as corporate governance practices. It is equally important to align the
business’ strategic intent to purpose driven activities. In other words, making
sustainable social contributions; people want to know that the companies that
they are supporting are socially responsible. Stakeholders also want a lot more
transparency when it comes to understanding which companies and individuals the
business is aligned with. 

2019, the
year to be proud of your reputation

“Companies will need to be a lot more
transparent about their reputation scores. Understanding your reputation and
pain points will help you to build your business so that people will want to be
associated with you and conduct business with you. It will help with making
better business decisions.

“We believe that sharing Repudometer® scores should
and will become part of due diligence processes in the future,” adds le Roux.

To proactively manage your corporate
reputation this year, le Roux advises that organisations consider the following
three P’s as a start:

  1. Purpose: Ask yourself: What is the main purpose of the business and is it still
    relevant? Do your stakeholders know what you are offering? Do a quick test and
    ask a few of your key stakeholders to verbalise in eight words what it is that
    they think your organisation does, this will help you to ascertain whether you
    are on track.
  2. Principles: Can you fluently answer what your business’ values are and whether it
    is entrenched in your organisation? Ethics, reputation and values are all
    interlinked. Organisations need to
    operate from an ethical, stakeholder inclusive perspective and influence not
    only the sector in which they operate, but the larger environment. This also
    includes who you align yourself with; do your alliances make business sense and
    are you partnered with likeminded organisations who have similar values?
  3. Partnerships: An incredibly important aspect this year is
    to focus on stakeholder value. What value do you provide your stakeholders, and
    how does this affect their wellbeing? Stakeholder relationships, both internally
    and externally, should be maintained equally and fairly by organisations. What
    has also been confirmed from the research, is the importance of having updated
    stakeholder databases in order to 
    effectively communicate with your audience.

“Leaders will be under
even more scrutiny and society’s magnifying glass this year.
Leaders need to be focussed on purpose driven
leadership; they should be the voice of the organisation and build principled
partnerships both internally and externally. What better way to show their
success by sharing their reputation scores,” concludes le Roux.


Keep your reputation intact this festive season

Managing your personal reputation this time of year is twofold. 2018 may have been your year of achieving your big ambitious goals, targets or a hard earned promotion. Don’t throw this away with a lapse in behaviour over the holiday season. Beginning the new year with a healthy reputation could be your competitive advantage in the office.

As
we start to wrap up the work year, it is also a time where many of us take a
look at the year that has passed to see how well we have done with achieving
our career goals. How have you measured these? How has your reputation helped
you achieve your goals?

“Our
reputation research model, the Repudometer®, is very adaptable,” says Chris
Bischoff, research analyst at Reputation Matters. “Even though our research
model is used to measure reputation at a corporate level, I find that the
various reputation elements can be adapted and applied at an individual level
too.” The Repudometer measures ten different elements that make up
a reputation. Keep them in mind while you are on holiday; don’t let a lapse in
judgement ruin your reputation and stump your career growth. Even though you
might not be seeing your boss and colleagues each day during this time, you are
still representing the company you work for.   

Strategic intent is one of the first elements that we look at. It gives the direction of where you want to go. What is the vision for your future? What values drive you to make decisions to achieve this vision? Your values are also a reason why your company selected you to work with them, not just because they thought that you could do the work really well, they thought you were a good cultural fit based on similar values. Identify these values and lean on them. Your personal and work values should be aligned, this will allow you to be authentic in the work that you do. “I personally find vision boarding and setting myself massive goals at the beginning of the year really helps to keep me focussed,” adds Bischoff.   

Corporate  governance links to leadership “With your goals in mind, be your own leader,” says Bischoff. “Your determination should be matched with diligence. Deliver at a consistently high standard that you set yourself, a standard that is also in line with what the company expects from you.”

Corporate Capital looks at the human element of a business. Simply put, does a company have the right people to do the job in the best way possible? What are you doing to empower yourself to continually grow and bring more Strategic intent your position and the company? Chief Executive Officer of Gazelle Inc. gives the mentioned during a Bloomberg What values in order to stay relevant, reading is crucial; to grow a company (also a) exponentially, you need to grow your knowledge exponentially. they thought is a good way to spend some of your off time this holiday season. “good cultural Matters we are encouraged to read at least a book a month.”

ValueOffering measures the perceived value of a product or service.“Thinking about your work as your brand is a great way to manage your reputation,” says Bischoff. “Ensure that your work, to whomever you deliver it to, provides high value for that person; this is how you build trust, which is also the way many brands become successful.”

Strategic alliances refers to the company that you keep, are your friends helping you to achieve your goals; like attracts like, make sure that you surround yourself with people that are positive, encouraging and share the same values that you do?

The glue that ties all the reputation elements together is communication, including both internal and external dialogue.

Looking back at this year, how have you motivated yourself towards  achieving corporate capital? Does your internal dialogue contribute to a positive attitude Strategic intent? How you talk to yourself largely determines how you talk to others, gives the be face-to-face, telephonically or via social media. Before posting What values media think about the message that you are sending out and how it also a your reputation, keeping in mind that some recruiters do use they thought platforms to help them make a decision whether or not to consider good cultural a position. Even though it is holiday time, you still need to face be authentic and clients in the board room in January.

As the year end functions and festivities begin, remember that you still represent the company that you work corporate capital. “What you apply to manage your reputation atwork should also be applied outside of work,” says Bischoff. “Keep your goalsin mind and a healthy personal reputation will help you achieve them.”

Let us know what values are most important for managing
your reputation
.

Strategic alliances information about Reputation Matters and their reputation research tool, the Repudometer® visit www.reputationmatters.co.za.


Global business directory, Hotfrog appoints South African Licensee

Moboom Ltd, owner of the global business directory Hotfrog, is pleased to announce the appointment of Reputation Matters to operate the Hotfrog platform in South Africa under license.

Australian based company, Moboom, has revolutionized how websites can be mass produced at a high quality and rendered across all devices seamlessly. Global business directory, Hotfrog, operates in 32 countries in 15 languages, and since its inception in 2006, has grown substantially to host 101million small business listings across virtually every business category.

The appointment comes ahead of the planned release of Hotfrog Digital, a complete rebuild of the directory on the patented Moboom platform.

The upgrade will ensure that Hotfrog’s small business subscribers will enhance their online presence by being part of a super-fast loading directory site, with accurate data securely hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The new Hotfrog site will provide South African subscribers with a range of upgrade options. Hotfrog will create a website for every business listed on the site at no charge; if the business wishes to keep the site, they will pay a nominal fee for hosting. This will ensure that every South African business listed has the opportunity for a professional web presence at a low fee.

In addition, through a partnership with Yext, a digital knowledge management platform, Hotfrog subscribers will also be able to easily publish their business details to many leading search engines and authoritative websites. This will ultimately boost their chances of being found online, particularly on mobile devices as at least half of the South African population owns a smartphone*.

 

Regine le Roux, managing director at Reputation Matters, says, “I am delighted to partner with Hotfrog to help deliver a cost-effective web presence to many South African small businesses.

“This initiative forms part of our Awesome AfriCAN initiative whereby we are firstly providing members in our communities with computer literacy skills, and secondly with entrepreneurial skills. We have the most amazing entrepreneurs who need just that little bit of support and guidance to help them take their businesses to the next level.

“We need to help our entrepreneurs to build reputable businesses from the outset. In the long term this will positively contribute to job creation, poverty alleviation, and ultimately positively contribute to the reputation of our country and continent, stimulating economic growth,” adds le Roux.

 

Reputation Matters will be training up community members to help build the websites, in so doing creating more jobs and at the same time helping entrepreneurs with a greater opportunity of marketing themselves.

“We aim to partner with many leading banks, charities and corporate organisations who share the same values and want to invest in our informal traders. Ultimately, we want to assist in having South African sole traders and small business owners get their business on the map and be found by consumers and helping them to grow,” says le Roux.

Gavin Burnett, Moboom Chief Executive Officer (CEO), says, “It was an easy decision to appoint Regine and her company, Reputation Matters as our partner in South Africa. She is passionate about helping local South African business operators grow their businesses and she recognizes that having a quality, cost-effective web presence is a critical component.

“While there are alternative solutions, none have the ability to scale and keep pace with the ever changing landscape of devices. Only Moboom can programmatically create stunning websites for tens of thousands of businesses and provide seamless upgrades without the client having to do a thing,” concludes Burnett.

 

The new South African Hotfrog site will be released in December 2018.

For more information on Reputation Matters visit www.reputationmatters.co.za

 

*https://businesstech.co.za/news/internet/255995/more-than-half-of-south-africans-now-own-a-smartphone-study/

 

About Moboom

The Moboom platform has revolutionized how websites can be mass produced to a high quality and render across all devices seamlessly. In partnership with AWS, Moboom has created one of the fastest loading, most secure platforms in the world which provides outstanding SEO benefits for its clients.

 

About Hotfrog

Hotfrog is a global business directory which operates in 32 countries in 15 languages. Founded in Australia in 2006, it has grown to a size of 101million small business listings across virtually every business category.

About Reputation Matters

Reputation Matters has been providing customised reputation research and management solutions since its inception in 2005. The company is 100% woman-owned and a level four, exempted micro enterprise BBBEE contributor.

Reputation Matters believes that if you treasure your reputation, you will measure it and are very proud of their proprietary reputation research tool, the Repudometer®. The model scientifically measures and quantifies organisations’ reputations based on an assessment of ten elements. The Repudometer® assists organisations in understanding who their stakeholders are, what perceptions each stakeholder group has of the organisation, and how to implement results-oriented, research-based communication solutions that helps take their reputations to the next level.

Reputation Matters’ vision is to be Africa’s go to reputation research and management partner for sustainable organisational growth. The values that drive this vision are authenticity, growth, and respect.

Reputation Matters have offices in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

For more information about Reputation Matters, visit www.reputationmatters.co.zaor call +27 (0)11 317 3861 (Jhb) | 021 790 0208 (Cpt). Reputation Matters is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters and Twitter@ReputationIsKey.


Look after your employees and they will look after your reputation

Employees play an important role in building the reputation of any organisation. Their sentiment towards the company is what they will be communicating to their nearest and dearest. This is important to consider as friends and family will have a perception of the company which is based on what employees say, rather than what a fancy advertising campaign might say. Reputation Matters, a proudly African research company specialising in reputation research, has developed its Organisational Climate Survey (OCS) research model to assess what exactly contributes to employee morale, productivity, employee motivation and behaviour, and job satisfaction. These are all crucial elements when it comes to an organisation’s reputation.  By looking after your employees, you are looking after your reputation.

“We have developed our OCS based on our reputation management model, the Repudometer® to extend our reputation research scope. Employees play such a big role in driving companies’ reputations, it is therefore important to understand the collective perception of employees: what influences their motivation and behaviour; what are their operational needs and communication preferences; and how do they perceive their roles in relation to the organisation’s vision and roadmap?” says Chris Bischoff, Research Analyst at Reputation Matters. Organisational climate has a more in-depth focus on how the organisation is experienced by employees on a daily basis. It should however, not be confused with organisational culture, which relates to the “why” things happen.

Nowadays an average workforce consists of three generations, namely Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials; each of which have different communication preferences. Reputation Matters’ OCS model helps to gain greater insight into the different generations to increase engagement amongst all employees through their preferred channels of communication. This helps improve and build stronger relationships with employees.

“The climate of your organisation also has an impact on the calibre of new recruits that you attract. So it is important to have the foundation in place so that you attract the right people,” says Bischoff. “A healthy organisational climate will also positively contribute to employee retention.”

An organisation’s leadership team plays an important role in establishing the climate. The leadership team will bring certain values, goals and structures to the table and this has a great influence on the overall organisational climate and how employees interact with each other. “As a person in a leadership position, you need to realise that your employees are your company’s most valuable resource; look after them, help them to grow in their position, in turn they will contribute to overall company growth,” says Bischoff.

By having a positive organisational climate, companies will see better performance and functioning of the business. Employee motivation and job satisfaction is also impacted, which ultimately contributes to the business’ bottom line.

Reputation Matters is hosting a reputation management master class in Cape Town from 12 to 16 November 2018. Join some well-established industry experts as we discuss some of the most important reputation building blocks any organisation should have in place. Click here for all the event details.


Empowering communities one computer course at a time

Graduates from the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg communities in Hout Bay proudly pose with their Microsoft® Office Training certificates that they have received on Friday, 19 October 2018 after completing a basic computer course at the Sijonga-Phambili Community Learning Centre in, Hout Bay. The course was facilitated by accredited trainer, Life Manuwe, founder and director of Lyfe Computer Technologies.

Over the last eight weeks, 43 community members from Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg attended a basic computer skills part time course at the Sijonga-Phambili Community Learning Centre in Hout Bay.

Life Manuwe, facilitator and director of Lyfe Computer Technologies says, “There is a massive need in our communities to learn basic computer skills. The interactive computer lessons are a couple of hours a week, where we teach basic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook skills; skills that many people take for granted. We want to help our community members to be more employable and through this we are playing our part to get people into the job market and ultimately to help with poverty alleviation.”

The course forms part of Reputation Matters’ Awesome AfriCAN initiative. It is currently in a pilot phase to work towards empowering our community members with computer skills.

“At Reputation Matters we specialise in reputation research. We often need to conduct fieldwork and depending on the research assignment, we also need to manually capture data. We saw this as a great opportunity to involve members of the communities in which we work,” says Regine le Roux, managing director of Reputation Matters.

“Many members in our communities have not had an opportunity to learn basic computer skills yet; so before we can start with data capturing, we needed to take a step back and get people trained up to be confident in front of a computer,” adds le Roux.

The Awesome AfriCAN initiative looks at empowering community members, not just in Hout Bay, but also the rest of Cape Town, the Western Cape, South Africa and even the rest of the continent! “We have an amazing continent, we need to empower our people to get into the job market, which will stimulate the economy on a micro level and ultimately, the bigger picture, to stimulate the economy across the continent. We are currently busy with a similar project in Saldanha Bay,” continues le Roux.

The next part of the computer training is to incorporate coding, as well as sessions such as job readiness sessions, for example, how to write a CV, how to prepare for a job interview, and of course data capturing. The initiative will also look at incorporating a course on entrepreneurship development, a key component to job creation in our communities.

“The course has been offered at no fee to the community members. To be able to continue with offering these classes we need funding. We are incredibly grateful for the generous sponsorships that we have received to make this pilot a reality and to train up these dedicated 43 participants,” explains Manuwe.

Le Roux adds, “We did not want to start a new non-profit organisation, there are more than enough in Hout Bay! Instead we are working with Rotary to help manage the funds we receive from sponsorship, because we know that the funds are 100% accounted for each project it is assigned to. Also, as we expand into Africa, Rotary is one of the most credible organisations with a footprint across the continent.”

Sponsoring an individual will cost R 550.00 per person for a four week course. Classes are dedicated to 15 people at a time and the classes run from 09:00 to 12:00; 13:00 to 14:00 Tuesday to Thursday.

If you would like to get involved, please contact Regine le Roux on awesome@reputationmatters.co.za | 083 302 1528 or Life Manuwe on lyfe.moyo@hotmail.com

To continue the reputation management discussion, visit www.reputationmatters.co.za. We are also on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters and Twitter @ReputationIsKey


On Ethics and Activism: South Africa’s Nene Moment

Revelations by former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on his meetings with the controversial Gupta family sparked outrage among South Africans and was met with calls for his axing. In his testimony to the Zondo Commission on State Capture, the former Minister was faced with the stark outcome of his ethical decisions. His resignation and replacement as finance minister by former South African Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni was unavoidable for a country grappling with rebuilding its reputation.

For managing director of Reputation Matters Regine le Roux, the question of ethics in leadership in any organisation boils down to the practice of instilling ethical behaviour into the DNA of an organisation. “The leadership of an organisation (or country) sets the example of how things need to be done.  When measuring corporate reputations among South Africa’s private and public organisations, we look at ten core building blocks; corporate management is one of the first elements interrogated when it comes to assessing an organisation’s reputation.”

“To rebuild the reputation of our country we need to laude President Ramaphosa for taking quick action in this matter; continuing to fight against corruption needs to remain top of his priority list as he indicated during his state of the nation address, walking his talk on this issue is crucial,” adds le Roux

The other key element that played a crucial part in this saga is strategic alliances; your reputation is impacted by the company you keep. Even though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing from the meetings conducted at the compound between Nene and the Guptas, but purely by association and lessons that we have learnt from other similar meetings, the worst case scenario is automatically assumed.

Why are reputations so important to treasure? “As a leader your organisation and in this case, country’s positive reputation has a direct impact on the bottom line and a country’s foreign investment opportunities.”

Taking a look purely at a corporate level, if your business has a positive reputation, people will want to work for you and buy your service or product. You will attract top talent, which in turn will impact the level of service or products that people will be willing to pay a premium for, so that they can be associated with your brand.

At Ethics Monitor, Managing Director Cynthia Schoeman believes we all have a built-in radar of right and wrong and has coined the term “Ethics Activism” when referring to the role organisations should play in managing ethics within a company.

Schoeman adds, “Ethics are non-negotiable. It warrants that ethics is included as an important goal that is actively managed, supported and recognised. Expecting on-going ethical conduct without such meaningful engagement with employees is frankly wishful thinking. Given the range of challenges and improper personal agendas that can arise, regular engagement is necessary to ensure employees’ understanding and to maintain their commitment to ethical practices.”

le Roux maintains that an organisation needs to be ruthless about looking after their reputation especially because of the impact it has on the health and bottom line of an organisation (or country). “Simply put, leaders set the example and values need to be non-negotiable”.

Reputation Matters is hosting a reputation management master class in Cape Town from 12 to 16 November 2018. Join our well-established industry experts as we discuss some of the most important reputation building blocks any organisation should have in place. For more information visit https://bit.ly/2O13fbB


Laughter: the secret ingredient for a better reputation?

 [Caption: Participants enjoying a Laughter Workshop session hosted by Laughter Coach, Bronwyn Kilroe]

“Everything you want is because you think you will feel happier if you had it. So why don’t you go straight to feeling happy by just laughing more because laughter instantly makes you happy.” ~ Bronwyn Kilroe

This is the lesson that Cape Town’s Laughter Coach, Bronwyn Kilroe wants participants to take away from her Laughter Workshop. Based on the concept of ‘fake it till you make it’, the Laughter Workshop encourages participants to laugh ‘without intellect’ and teaches people the skills to achieve sustained hearty laughter without involving cognitive thought.

“Laughter assists with stress management, health promotion and happiness development, enabling teams to perform at high levels, maintain their composure in a crisis and take better care of their organisation, leading to long-term business success,” says Kilroe.

A Forbes study[1] indicates that for business success, laughter is an asset with happy employees reportedly being up to 50% more productive. Regine le Roux, Managing Director at Reputation Matters notes, “an organisation’s productivity and employee engagement are dimensions that we take into consideration when measuring an organisation’s reputation. Both play an important role in the overall reputation of an organisation..

“A workplace that feels fun and friendly increases team morale and engagement levels and reduces absenteeism caused by illness. Finding humour in everyday situations is an excellent antidote to stress and encourages teams to work together to ultimately contribute to the bottom line and improve the company’s overall reputation,” says le Roux

Employees are the greatest contributors to a company’s reputation and Kilroe wants to help build happy and productive teams. “I want to help people find their smiles again,” adds Kilroe. The science based methodology of the Laughter Workshop empowers teams with practical stress management techniques which can be employed at work and home.

“Seeing the transformation in the business and corporate teams I work with, before and after a Laughter Workshop is pure bliss for me,” says Kilroe. “They arrive stressed, anxious, depressed and then to see their frowns turn into smiles of joy and happiness, and to hear the roars, shrieks and chuckles whilst doing some good belly laughs together is a pure delight.”

Laughter, whether real or simulated, releases endorphins and serotonin into the bloodstream and encourages ‘real laughter’, which is hard to stop once released. These happy hormones trick the body into bypassing the intellectual system, which normally acts as a barrier to genuine laughter.

“Isn’t it funny that something as simple as laughing could be the secret ingredient to take your business’ reputation to the next level, creating a win-win scenario for the company and your colleagues’ general health. You could say that with the help of Bronwyn, you could be laughing all the way to the bank!” concludes le Roux

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/12/13/promoting-employee-happiness-benefits-everyone/#59695eb5581a

 


What do survey incentives do to your data quality?

Research has proven that incentives increase survey responses1. However, enticing a person to complete a survey with an incentive means you can be sure to get different answers. Whether you choose to incentivise your survey or not, data quality needs to be at the centre of this decision.

“As a researcher I am always concerned about getting enough responses to make my projects statistically accurate. While a 100 percent response is not absolutely necessary, two percent is not statistically useful,” says Chris Bischoff, Research Analyst at Reputation Matters.

Research results impact on decision making for a business and ultimately affect people, so you would obviously want to base these decisions on good quality data and statistically accurate research results, explains Bischoff.

Using their reputation measurement tool, the Repudometer®, Reputation Matters measures the perceptions that stakeholders have about an organisation, be it a JSE listed company, major product retailer, association or institution. These perceptions make up a company’s reputation. “Give a respondent an incentive and it may influence their perceptions and the feedback they provide, leading to data bias,” says Bischoff.

Consider some of the factors that contribute to an increased response rate. Think for a moment, why would you answer a survey?

Firstly, people will answer a survey because they think it is important to them. Their input is valuable to the business being researched and will lead to improvement in some way that will also benefit them2.

Secondly, people need to have certainty that data will be maintained properly2. If someone would like to remain anonymous you need to assure them upfront that every answer that they provide will be confidential, and therefore there is absolutely no risk involved in participating. “When conducting reputation research, a common stakeholder group that we usually reach out to are employees. By ensuring that their answers are confidential, we can encourage them to provide their open and honest feedback about their workplace, giving us accurate data to analyse,” says Bischoff.

Lastly, answering a survey should not be a complete time burden for a potential respondent. “Once again be upfront with the respondent, explain that the survey will only take ten minutes of their time and make sure that they only have to spend ten minutes completing it. If your survey then takes 20 minutes to complete, you are likely to have lost their interest as well as trust for any future surveys,” explains Bischoff. When designing a survey carefully consider the average time a respondent will need to provide meaningful feedback without losing interest.

When a respondent spends time on a survey to give their honest feedback it will contribute to good data quality3. “If they are going to rush through the survey to get the prize, an incentive is not the way to go to encourage responses,” says Bischoff.

“We always highly recommend clients not to incentivise a survey, the value for the participant lies in the outcomes of a possible change that will benefit them after the survey is complete and recommendations implemented.

When embarking on a research study, communication therefore plays an important role.  Make sure that you inform your target population about the survey, the purpose behind it, and importantly, how it may lead to improving something and the possible benefit to them. This might just be enough to encourage them to answer the survey.”

For more information about Reputation Matters and their research tools, visit their website or contact them at research@reputationmatters.co.za

1 James S. Cole, Shimon A. Sarraf and Xiaolin Wang (2015). Does use of survey incentives degrade data quality?

 Paper presented at the Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum

2Cooperative Institutional Research Program (2015). Encouraging participation in CIRP surveys.

3National Business Research Institute (2018). Survey Incentives: response rate and data quality.


Let’s talk about sustainability

In a space that is technical, complicated and sometimes full of ‘hot air’, how do you communicate clearly, truthfully and engagingly about topics such as carbon neutrality, waste management and corporate social responsibility? Through the networking partnership of Reputation Matters, Open Cape Town and specialist recruitment consultant, Lisa Wannell, #DialogueMatters, have created a networking space to discuss different communication challenges.

On Wednesday, 18 April 2018 #DialogueMatters hosted their session at The Bureaux in Woodstock and focussed on exploring the challenges of communicating complex messages around sustainability.

Kicking off the session, Chris Bischoff, Research Analyst and sustainability specialist, spoke about the importance of understanding your different stakeholder groups before embarking on a communication campaign. “By conducting stakeholder research you can gain very useful insight into the depth of knowledge that your different stakeholders have on sustainability subjects as well as their preferred channels for communication. This will greatly influence how you communicate with them and how they receive messages”.

Kristina Malther, Managing Director at Open Cape Town and facilitator of the workshop highlighted, “One of the challenges of communicating sustainability is the complexity of it, and the fact that we are often communicating simultaneously to many different stakeholders with different prerequisites of understanding of the subject matter, from school kids to engineers, and that makes it very challenging to get the messaging right”.

“Combining facts with visuals, such as infographics, is often a good way to stay true to the facts while making them more accessible for a wider audience or employees,” adds Malther.

Lisa Wannell, Specialist Search consultant and workshop speaker talked about what is required from ‘sustainability specialists’ nowadays, “From a recruitment point of view the evolution of this specialism over the past ten years or so has been fascinating to see, sustainability specialists are becoming as sought after as change specialists as organisations step up to meet the challenge of ensuring their businesses are sustainable across all functions. The skill set of these specialists demands a breadth and depth of knowledge incorporating technical knowledge in engineering and science fields, with stakeholder engagement skills, consummate written and verbal skills and up-to-date knowledge of current environmental and other legislation.

Wannell also went on to highlight how sustainability has started resonating throughout all areas of the corporate landscape where this has become evident in reporting, “Many major South African companies have led the way with their integrated reporting, the best of them demonstrating on virtually every page of their reports, how their sustainability strategy is aligned to the overall business agenda, or is inseparable from it. Clearly, Sustainability his is no longer a tick-box exercise, it’s well on its way to taking a seat at the top table”.

“Our research has shown that people want to do business with companies that take responsibility and are doing something to reduce their footprint; regardless of what their service offering or product is,” says Bischoff. “Start internally with employees; get them to ‘walk the talk’, because ultimately they will be representing the organisation with its sustainability journey”. “Engaging employees as ambassadors for your sustainability agenda is a very effective way of getting the message out there, and to a wider audience,” adds Malther.

Specialised sessions can be arranged and customised according to an organisations needs. For more information about these sessions, get in touch at info@reputationmatters.co.za.


The difference between crisis management and reputation management

As the listeriosis outbreak hit front pages with 180 fatalities* and news spread of contaminated food being pulled from supermarket shelves, communications specialists have been keeping a close watch over how Tiger brands handles the crisis. Regine le Roux, MD of Reputation Matters, takes a closer look at crisis management and how it differs from reputation management.

“Over the years crisis communication has been used interchangeably with reputation management, however one should note that there is a big difference between the two and they are not the same thing,” says le Roux.

“Crisis communication is reactive, think panic-mode, it’s how a company responds to bad news and the main focus is on salvaging that external image. In contrast, reputation management is proactive and you have the benefit of time on your hands,” explains le Roux. “Most importantly good reputation management can prevent a crisis,” she says.

Reputation Matters conducts reputation research, quantifying an organisation’s reputation, highlighting areas of risk and advising on solutions to prevent these concerns spiraling into a full-blown crisis. “Our reputation research has helped clients identify areas that are breaking down their reputation. If left unattended they would certainly have caused major damage,” says le Roux, explaining the value of long term, consistent reputation management compared to “fireman” crisis management.

With any crisis, but particularly with a health crisis, no time can be wasted in making a recall announcement, says le Roux. “Customers will criticise any delays in announcing a food recall linked to an outbreak of any kind. Lives are quite literally at stake. On the other hand, with reputation management you have time on your side, giving you the opportunity to strategise about what you want to communicate to stakeholders and how, using data-driven research to inform those decisions.”

Le Roux’s advice is avoid a crisis while you can: “I am convinced that conducting a reputation research study can be a valuable exercise in actively protecting one’s business from a crisis. The key is to take action and proactively manage your reputation before concerns spiral out of control. After all, wouldn’t you like to be quoted in the news for the right reasons, instead of forever appearing on a Google search linked to a widely publicized crisis?”