What reputation means for today’s businesses
According to Bo Bennett, PhD, Author of Year To Success “A referral is the key to the door of resistance.” A resistant customer will take a step back, jump on the internet, and do a quick search on the reputation of your brand. So, what does this mean for your company? Building brand reputation starts with your very first customer and should be a never ending process and priority. Today, social media has taken the steering wheel, and is driving the market. Customers now have a platform to voice their opinions and experiences with a brand. This means a good or bad experience can spread like wildfire, either helping or damaging a brand’s reputation. In recent news, for example, American yogurt company, Chobani, announced that employees would be given shares in the company. This means huge bonuses for both long term and short term employees. News of the CEO’s decision to do this flooded both Twitter and Facebook feeds, not to mention a number of news outlets; skyrocketing the brand's reputation.
A study by Thomson Reuters and Interbrand, indicates that, as opposed to a few decades ago where approximately 95% of the average corporation’s value consisted of tangible assets, now 75% of that average corporation’s value is intangible. This means that the tides have shifted, accountability has leaped, and building a trusting environment around your brand has climbed to the top of the totem pole.
Since the financial crisis, brand trust amongst the public has diminished. People have become less likely to jump into a relationship with an unfamiliar brand. Trust is built slowly over time, and can be lost in an instant. So, how does a brand build an environment of trust? Through clear communication channels that are derived from the heart of the company and assembled by talented communicators.
The role of the corporate affairs director and how their relationship with the CEO is changing
A corporate affairs director takes on the responsibility of managing both the internal and external communications of a company. This can include anything from government or public relations to constructing the environment in which the employees thrive in. Their job is to build the communication channels throughout a company, establishing strong networks of trust from within.
A business that has established open communication and trust amongst its team has the advantage in building trust with its public. In fact, now more than ever, leaders in corporate affairs are skipping the middleman and working directly with the executive of the company. Through a study performed by Management Today, of 33 Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 Corporate Affairs leaders that they interviewed, 81% report directly to the CEO of the company. This creates a direct communication network from the top of the company directly to the public.
What’s changing within the relationship between the role of the executive and corporate affairs is that a direct communication channel has been built, and the corporate affairs director has found a spot in those executive meetings. In the same study mentioned earlier performed by Management Today, it was found that 82% of corporate affairs leaders even participate or lead those executive meetings.
How a business can use corporate affairs to create an environment of confidence and trust
Trust is an essential tool in establishing confidence in a brand’s credibility. The corporate affairs director plays a crucial role in laying the foundation for a trusting environment. The more information is communicated openly and the more transparent the approach taken, the better the business to client relation. Ivey business journal wrote: “Leaders of high-performing, well-respected companies are known for their ‘open-book communications.’ They create a culture of trust by sharing information quickly and freely, and building relationships with employees and other stakeholders that enable their organizations to thrive.”
In order to build a relationship in which strong communication channels are formed, brands must have a listening ear. A one-directional communication channel is neither benefitting the brand nor the customer. However, media is now congested with different networks of communication, which has enabled the community to toss around brand names left and right. Tracking comments, feedback or mentions has become an overwhelming, but necessary task.