Once the data has been gathered from interviews with stakeholders, Reputation Institute then gives the company a score that lets management know how the company’s reputation measures up against a number of criteria. “Based on those four questions, we can tell you the strength of your reputation from a zero to 100 point scale, and because we’ve done it across all these different stakeholders, we can actually tell the company how well they’re doing against industry peers, best in class, etcetera,” Nielsen notes.
Reputation Institute has also identified seven dimensions of reputation that companies must work on to maintain a good reputation. “If you deliver on these seven dimensions, you will be in a situation where each stakeholder will be willing to support you,” the company’s press materials state. Those seven areas are: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship (which the institute defines as “good corporate citizens that support good causes and protect the environment”), leadership, and financial performance.
“So when we break down reputation, and we work for companies, we want to understand how people perceive them on these seven [dimensions], and also what matters most,” he notes. Then the institute can better advise companies on which areas they need to improve to boost their reputation.
On average, in the United States, stakeholders care most about products and services (19 percent); governance, innovation, and citizenship (tied at 14 percent); and workplace, leadership, and financial performance (all tied at 13 percent).
Nielsen highlights the importance of building and managing trust among key stakeholders when it comes to reputation. “For all of those stakeholders, for them to support the company, there is one thing that they all want, which is to be able to trust that this company will deliver on their promises,” he says. “Trust is at the heart of reputation. If you think about companies that you trust and admire and respect, they would probably be companies that you also want to buy products from.”