Navigating the Waves of Reputation Management in a Changing World

As SPECTRA 2024 kicked off, the air buzzed with anticipation and the promise of gearing insights into the dynamic realm of reputation management. This unique conference has indeed, carved a niche for itself by focusing on the critical aspects of maintaining & enhancing organisational reputation. The purpose of SPECTRA, clearly defined as a platform to gather, learn, share and engage – was evident from the moment the event unfolded.

#ReputationMatters #SustainabilityInFocus #SPECTRAInsights

Namrata Rana, Co-author of SHIFT, set the tone for the day with a thought-provoking statement, “Writing is something I do to express and understand what is happening in the world of sustainability”. Her talk at SPECTRA on February 28, 2024, initially delved into the changes occurring in our world, mirrored by the shifting seasons in Delhi, which we are witnessing now.

In the search for Opportunities for a NET-Zero World, the clock is ticking swiftly today. This was the stark reality. So, it needs deep reflection and action at supersonic speed. Economic opportunities, well-being of society, environmental and technological balance – all need fresh new thinking. The shift starts with ensuring development without carbon emissions, products that can be reused and recycled, jobs that are green and an economy that is inclusive.

‘Sustainability’ is just a word thrown at us by people and brands and it leads to conversations too. Every brand says we’re good for the world! It’s very different from what things were ten years back, she recalled. Where did sustainability come into the frame? Because people felt products have significant impact on the world. When you walk with a product, it can influence people in a big way, and influence is about reputation, was her clear vision.

Many companies focused on manufacturing products in countries, which were cheaper and only looked at the benefit for profit! No one saw that it can have a significant ‘carbon impact’. If you are just talking and not doing anything, it’s is going to impact the firm’s reputation. Today, ‘green-washing’ is an offence. “To me it is about saying the right thing and doing the right thing”, she explained.

In a Dialogue with Vasudevan Rangarajan, Edelman India, the point came up – the shift to ESG. When he asked what is India Inc doing, she observed that we are in a bigger transformation shift. The sources of energy are causing carbon emissions and it needs to come down. New infrastructure needs to be set up. “My book is based on studies about companies that are on this path”, she pointed out.  This is not a ‘good-to-do ’but a ‘must-do’!

Is this shift something that communicators are trying to nudge, to bring in a change? Communicators should look at the inside, outside philosophy, so she advises brands to “dig deeper”. New business models need to be created. Green-washing is an inauthentic practice that needs to be left behind. “Don’t talk, but do”. Think inside/outside and then walk with the brand – was her mantra.

In a big way, what are the questions brands should start thinking about seriously? What is the product made of? Instead of taking things for granted? How is the product consumed? Will the product lie in landfill?

Keeping all this in mind, does the path to sustainability lack action? As communicators, she felt that the challenge is to communicate this journey of the company. And as communicators, we are not used to looking at data, but today we need to follow the data in a different way, she advised. A lot of research needs to be done, and questioning is critical. And, in an AI driven world, you need to be very pro-active.

With all companies talking about sustainability and there is a lot of clutter. What should we as communicators take away – to stand out? To break the clutter, there should be consistency of intent, was her insight.

Lastly, what could be one key takeaway for students? Students are the generation, that is going to be impacted in a big way, and we were the consumption generation, she added. So, her tip was – “Let’s not just think ‘green’ but ‘act green’ too”.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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