What the public see and think about your organisation is a very important element for profitable business. If there is a negative perception about your business, it will drastically decrease your ability to grow and strengthen. Here is some more ideas that may help you consider things you haven’t yet thought of.

“Buildings deteriorate, products malfunction, copyrights expire, but if properly managed, an organis-ation’s good name and reputation grow in value with each passing year.”

Mary Ann Pires, US communications consultant.

The importance of design to image

IBM was one of the first companies to make image and design a corporate religion. A simple, straightforward declaration of principles by the son of the founder left nothing to chance. On 26 January 1961, President Thomas J. Watson Jr issued to all supervisors his famous one-paragraph edict that has never been amended:

“Good design is good business. Imaginative use of design helps to sell our products. Pleasant, efficient work areas contribute to better morale and productivity. Dramatic design in printed materials increases its message impact. The Vice President for Design is responsible for co-ordinating company design activities in architecture, products, packaging and printed material. Since design excellence concerns all areas of the business, you should make certain that all your people are aware of its importance.”


Traps in word of mouth marketing

For effective PR and marketing in your organisation, verbal communication is a key weapon. In his celebrated book ‘Thriving on Chaos’, Tom Peters devoted an entire chapter to marketing by word of mouth. In it he writes:

‘Word of mouth is governed by the 90-10 rule: 90 per cent of the world is influenced by the other 10 per cent. Every person who is interviewed or delivers a package or visits a company walks away with an impression. If the company employees communicate effectively, every person who comes in contact with the company becomes a salesperson for the company, a carrier of goodwill about the company.’

So too with your organisation.

A casual derogatory (albiet jokey) remark to a community leader can undo years of hard PR work; an over-worked or over-officious secretary on the phone can create an entirely wrong impression; careless background chatter in the staff room while the phone off the hook can do the same; foul-mouthed language by an employee at the local shopping centre can do untold damage to your organisation’s reputation…

There are all sorts of little traps out there waiting to sabotage the PR efforts of your organisation. Be alert.

To adapt a phrase from the US airforce: ‘The price of good marketing is eternal vigilance’.


The Five Reputation Realities

Building a good image and reputation for your organisation starts in the boardroom, says Davis Young in Building Your Company’s Good Name. Your company’s good name, he writes, is based on the development of good policies, not reactive damage control of bad ones. It means assuming the mantle of responsibility and requires an understanding of five ‘reputation realities’… which he lists as follows:

  1. Important decisions by stakeholders are invariably based on trust.
  2. There is no quick and easy way to have a good reputation.
  3. A good reputation is everyone’s job, not just management’s.
  4. You cannot have a good external reputation unless you have a good internal reputation.
  5. It may take years to build a reputation but only a moment to destroy one.

As US communications consultant Mary Ann Pires acknowledges:

“Buildings deteriorate, products malfunction, copyrights expire, but if properly managed, an organisation’s good name and reputation grow in value with each passing year.”


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