By reputation management, we mean more than media relationships and issues management, which is what many communications agencies mean when they say, ‘reputation management’.

Both of these activities would be included in reputation management, but Corporate Image includes a broad spectrum of management activity in our approach to this discipline.

Generally, we believe that professional reputation management falls within four stages of evolution. We help companies proceed from the baseline to the most evolved phase – Strategic Reputation Management.

The kinds of activities we would include would range from reputation risk assessment (using a bespoke tool on project risk called The Reputation Automated Project Risk Assessment Tool©). We use a tool called The Reputation Performance/ Perceptions Model© to measure the difference between perceptions and what a company is practically delivering, so that an adjustment can be made either to the way in which a company is communicating with its stakeholders, or whether an adjustment to the way they do things is necessary to move the needle.

Internal training on both ethics and reputation management is also a part of Corporate Image’s suite of services. Our programmes for staff are interactive, often fun and encourage employees to take personal accountability for promoting, enhancing and protecting their employer’s reputation. Practical examples are used throughout the business to make sure employees can identify their role in the process.

To understand the efficacy – or efficiency – of a company’s engagement process with the media, we make use of a Media Efficacy Tool© which allows our clients to rate themselves against peers when it comes to media relations. This proprietary tool looks at very key questions about a client’s relations with the media: how they value the information the client provides, what store they put in their relationship with a client, how they view a client CEO’s accessibility and transparency, and what areas a client should improve upon. We have done a sufficient number of research projects over the years to ensure we measure a client company against corporate benchmarks.

Ultimately, Corporate Image believes that reputation requires long-range planning, patience, enormous commitment and very careful management. It goes to the soul of a company, not to its PR or media strategy, in the same way that compliance with King IV or Sarbanes Oxley does not automatically make a company honest.