- Helping prepare for a crisis
Reputation management is not just about building and sustaining a positive external perception of your organisation. It’s also about anticipating what internal or external factors could affect your organisation’s reputation, so you can take steps to mitigate those risks. You can’t predict when a crisis will hit, but the contingency planning undertaken as part of a reputation management strategy will help ensure you’re ready to react and aren’t wasting time working out what to do.
- Establishing contacts
If your reputation management is proactive – as it should be – then you’ll be talking to the journalists relevant to your organisation. This has two advantages. Firstly, when anything happens relevant to your sector, you have the contacts in place to offer comment as a thought leader. Secondly, if anything goes wrong, you’re not establishing contacts from scratch and can communicate effectively with journalists who are already familiar with you and your organisation.
- Knowing who your friends are
It’s better to have other people talk about you than talking about yourself. Third party endorsements are crucial in establishing an organisation’s credibility. In adverse circumstances, your advocates are some of your best friends and can make sure there continues to be supportive comment about your organisation and its messaging. By maintaining your reputation management, you keep these opinion formers engaged and can retain their endorsement.
- Knowing who your opponents are
Reputation management is not just about talking to the people who like you. Its also about identifying how your organisation can engage with members of the public and opinion formers who might need to be convinced of your point of view. Some individuals or groups will be immovable in their criticism or opposition, but a reputation management strategy can help in continually identifying their potential criticisms and how they can be mitigated.
- Stopping the process means starting from scratch
A lot of organisations think that media relations and reputation management are like taps that can be turned on and off. The truth is that any organisation that ceases to engage with its advocates, critics and the media will have to begin from scratch when they restart the process, losing the benefit of any foundations they might have laid.