It’s all about Reputation

Hello Reputation! Do you have one? Shakespeare said “What is in a Name?”, and we all agreed with that for a number of years till the current modern time when we now believe everything is in the Name. It all started with the need for Identity as each individual is considered different and unique. This called for a Name, Surname, Father’s name, Village name etc, which got added to make it unique.

The good old barter system gave birth to the first marketing process bringing in money as a common system of exchange and the Marketing Concept of Value for Money. This brought in the concept of Brand, Image and Reputation. Competition was the natural outcome with advent of USP.

If Shakespeare was to live in current modern time, he could not have said “What is in a Reputation ?”, because everything moves around the Reputation today and in future too.

Mahatma Gandhi is associated with Non-Violence, Mother Teresa with Compassion, Indira Gandhi is about Emergency, Hitler about Autocracy, Dhoni is Captain Cool, Virat is Aggression with Personal Achievement, Amitabh Bachchan is the Angry Young man, Sachin Tendulkar is all about Records, Google and Facebook are about innovative social media advertising, Birla is about Parta System of Accounting, Apple is about Innovation, China is about mass produced cheap products, Germany is Engineering, USA is Big Brother, India is about Yoga and Market which can not be ignored, and we can go on and on. These are public perceptions not unfounded but clearly based on observation of behaviour of people and institutions displayed openly or in guided secrecy.

This series of weekly articles will cover various aspects of Reputation and in the later part bring you interviews with Achievers from various walks of life who will be willing to share their journey into the merits and perils of their Reputation for all of us to learn and gain.

Reputation is both at the Individual as well as Group/Family/Team/Organisation/Country level. In these articles we will try to cover the complete band.

Reputation is all about Vision, Values, Ethics and Strategy in life.

This would involve study of Culture and managing it, Managing Change and sustaining it with both pains and gains. It is understanding your external image & reputation in the eyes of your external stakeholders with your positive and negative communication process including your body language. It is the sum total of your short term efforts culminating into a long term Reputation. Clearly it is not built overnight and there is no short cut to it. Positive Reputation is hard to built. Negative can happen if you are not careful.

Reputation is also to do with people around you who surround you-your family, friends, employees, associates, partners and their attitudes, values, shared values with you and their day-to-day behaviour towards others. This would depend upon your interpersonal and internal communication with all. It would also speak about your human values and attitude to help others solve their problems. It is also about taking suggestions about your own issues and problems with all humility. Remember excellence is all about Team Work, Collaboration and Co-Creation. It is considering the whole world as your family – Vasudev Kutumbakam – the whole Universe is my family and we all are interdependent.

As discussed earlier, Perception is a immediate precursor to Reputation. It will require your appreciating and understanding who your target audience/customers are, who are all the time observing and evaluating you. It would mean how you communicate with them – nationally and internationally. Perception and Reputation periodically require a reality check which has to be impartial, with out any biases and if possible evaluated by independent outside agencies.

A proper communication plan is necessary for a well-thought about reputation plan. Both oral and written communication has to be strategically worked out with proper budgeting. Well written speeches always help if are well delivered. A big no-no to spelling and pronunciation mistakes. This is a big challenge in todays SMS and E-mail generation.

Planning for reputation is a subject which can not be delegated. Consultants can help design a strategy but implementation is to be done by you and your team and your organisation. You can not hide behind anyone and have to take it head on. So gear up and do it.

Best of Luck …

Ashok Kapoor
With of 40 years of experience in academics and industry, Professor Ashok Kapoor is today a freelance teacher, consultant, mentor and life coach.

A Masters in Management Studies from BITS, Pilani, Professor Ashok has been teaching courses on Corporate Communication, CSR, Leadership Skills and Reputation Management at various Institutes like MDI, Gurgaon and BML Munjal University among others.

In the past he has also held leadership positions with leading corporates like Eicher GoodEarth, Shalimar Paints and the Sahara India Group.

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