Reputation is generally wrapped around character, what an individual, organization, society or state is known for, and it may be good, bad or ugly. This reputation that you are known for are real, perceived, ambivalent or totally untrue, for example there is a perceive notion around the world that products from Taiwan are sub-standard, we know that is totally untrue but that has now form part of reputation of this country albeit a bad one.
Reputation is different from image or branding for the fact that the earlier can be created and the former is an identity that evolve, are a pointer to where an organization is now and where it intend to be and not necessarily where it is coming from and how to get to a new state that is healthier. Reputation management is neither public relation nor data collecting or advertisement management, it deals with the root cause of a problem, proffer solutions, set process in motion and monitor progress of that solutions. For the effective management a matrix was developed to that effect in-house in our organization, R.I.P.E® matrix as its called stand for Repair, Improve, Polish or Eliminate, but what are really the different stages of reputation. Reputation can either be;
v Excellent – this mean that the organization have obtain the highest position on the spectrum that makes its reputation to be impeccable and this mean that all the indices that ensure the best corporate governance are present; high quality of service/product, strong corporate compliance, strong brand values and communication, anticipate and manage risk properly, relate well with all stakeholders (internal and external) without any major friction, fulfills contractual agreements, communicate effectively, learn from others mistake and above all have clear and transparent vision, strategy, plan and be trustworthy. Unfortunately not a single company or government can be put in this category in the country right now
v Good –organization that belong to this category have almost everything that were mention in the excellent category but one or two of them may be missing, this is where some of the companies belong to and example are Johnson & Johnson
v Bad – organization that belong to this section are numerous in number this is primarily because they continuously break people trust in them and they e.g the insurance industry
v Ugly – this is the lowest depth of reputation, it always happen as a result of a high level of deception by an organization or an individual it either ruin the organization or the individuals that surround it e.g Enron in U.S.A
Also it is possible for organization to be boxed into any of the categories that they do not necessarily belong to because of being misunderstood or the fact that they are not transparent enough in their dealings with the stakeholders and this can be disastrous for the organization, proper management is needed for a company to be properly align with its reputation and justify where and how the intervention should take place.