In the reputation economy of the 2010s, leading organisations have realised that enhanced corporate storytelling about enterprise-wide values and behaviour trumps narrow product feature and benefit messaging. The best corporate narrative can properly align your organisation’s vision for the future, its current capabilities and your performance on rising stakeholders expectations from the workplace to the marketplace. However, integrating a corporate narrative (the why, what and how of an organisation’s call to action) deep into an organisation has profound implications on reputation risk assessment and mitigation.

Creating the business rationale for active reputation management is a crucial first step for most multinational organisations on their reputation journeys. The 2008-2009 global financial crisis helped to crystallize the need for most companies to align their leadership behind an integrated company purpose, and a refined definition of their stakeholder map beyond the ‘Holy Trinity’ of customers, investors and employees.

The next step is often the creation of a corporate narrative as part of a comprehensive reputation strategy. We define a corporate narrative as “a defined set of messages that build internal alignment around the current business environment, corporate values and business strategy along with external relevance around how a guiding idea can safely deliver three to four reputation promises across multiple stakeholders and geographies”. Once the corporate narrative is developed, there is often the temptation (not to mention a host of examples across the G20 markets) to move immediately into integration mode in order to activate the corporate narrative and use it liberally across internal and external touchpoints (think paid, earned, shared and owned channels). This usually happens when the new corporate narrative is seen as more of an image campaign or a response to an industry or a company shortcoming – in other words, an irresistible chance to play offence with your firm’s reputation capital.

Apr-Jun 2015 Issue

Reputation Institute