Recently I was asked to map out a plan to develop some substance around the CEO of a major organization in Malaysia. The belief was that although he heads a hugely successful company, his personal brand lacks gravitas and this may count against the firm in the long run.
And they were right because the reputation of a CEO is inextricably linked to the reputation of a company. Just look at the fortunes of any CEO who had a good reputation then lost it.
Or the fortunes of a business whose reputation was painstakingly built over years, only to fall in a heartbeat because of C level indiscretions or dodgy practices.
Here in Malaysia errant CEOs generally leave quietly so we don’t often hear about such reputational issues but there are plenty of examples of the above. Because of the increasingly litigious nature of society, I’m not going to name names but think of the automotive, aviation, banking, steel and telecommunications industries amongst others and you should be able to work out who I am talking about.
Even in the consumer trenches, a company with a poorly respected CEO or dodgy reputation is going to struggle to find enough customers to build a brand. After all, would you buy from a company with a poor reputation? If a company with a questionable reputation submits a tender to your company, would you consider them? With so many alternatives in the market, there is no need to do so.
Even if the CEO has a solid reputation, he is often the difference between the company and a competitor. If he lacks charisma he may struggle to compete effectively. Tracking his reputation online will enable firms to identify what issues to address, in which channels and where and when. The effectiveness of solutions can be tracked and improved almost immediately.
In today’s social economy, where consumers not companies define brands it is imperative that every organization tracks its reputation online. This is even more important here in Asia where consumers are more likely to take to social media to complain and raise issues rather than connect directly with a company.
Unfortunately many companies still don’t see the benefit of tracking their reputation. Hopefully that will change with this handy infographic from Digital Firefly which shows why companies need to make reputation management a top priority – NOW!