I'm in the Big Easy this week for a conference of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). You can view the real time blogging from the conference board here. New Orleans, I'm told, is not what it used to be and is coming back very slowly. The events connected with Katrina have put a really big dent into the city population and, in some respects, its reputation.
In the last couple of days I have been following a story at Deep Jive Interests where Tony Hung has been talking about how to make conversational marketing work and providing a recipe for real conversations. Do take the time to read his previous post on The Real Nature of Conversational Marketing as well. He has some very good points and thinking there, which involve reputation.
Our reputations, personal and professional, matter. We only have one, and we need to do everything in our power to protect it. Reputation is the reflection of your organization over time as seen by the stakeholders and can add significantly to your bottom line. In our discussion with Warren Bickford of Vancouver Coastal Health, reputation is earned, it cannot be bought. Let me say that again, it is earned, and it is extremely vulnerable.
The elements that stakeholders consider when making a judgment about your company are:
- product quality -- if your product is not good, there is no amount of spin you can do
- financial performance
- social responsibility
- market leadership
It is a less trusting world the one we live in now. People, publics are watching for behavior and commitment. There is a very emotional, thus irrational response to lack of trust. And there is a silver lining. When managed right, reputation can be your best asset.
If we go back to the conversation at Deep Jive Interests, what might be the elements that we judge when thinking about reputation in the blogosphere?
- content quality
- the voice behind the writing and the respect of the voices behind the comments
- usefulness, the currency of self publishing
- responsibility to being authentic, honest, and ethical
- behavioral leadership and participation
How do organizations measure that their consistent behavior and commitment enhance reputation?
- taking the pulse of the workplace environment
- getting feedback from social responsibility
- the quality of its products and services
- financial performance
- understanding and awareness
- vision and leadership
Could these principles or similar ones be applied to social media? Not only blogs and self-publishing tools, but the whole environment of free exchange of ideas and conversations. How would you apply some of these principles and measurement tools to blogs? After all, loyalty is a direct measure of how we make people feel. How do blogs measure up?