How reputation works: the information that shapes it and the people who perceive it The reputation of a person or company is based on information (one kind or another). And every reputation is perceived by people (one way or another) . Put information and perception together, and you'll be left with a whole host of differences, reactions, interactions, and misunderstandings on the big stage of how reputation plays out. Several principles, including demographics, psychology, and technology, support all differences between reputation perceptions. This article explains in a broad sense how reputation works. Specifically, we answer four broad questions throughout this article: Who are the people who form these ideas about the reputation of a particular individual or company? How did their thoughts or perceptions of reputation come about? What are the specific technical characteristics that shape reputation information? Why are our judgments about reputation so limited? This article will give you the information you need for two very important business skills: 1) managing your or your company's reputation, and 2) understanding how your own beliefs and practices affect reputation. Who are the people who form the concept of reputation? This is the situation. You are a Fortune 2000 CMO.
To be cliché, your company's name is Widget Inc. Today, Widget Inc, with 10,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue, is in serious trouble because your product fails, your stock value falls, and your top management makes some serious mistakes. Basically, you have a bad reputation. Income plummets like a satellite re-entering Earth's atmosphere. A horrible bunch of middle managers flocked to recruiters and covered Monster.com with their resumes. Six vice presidents have resigned. Bloomberg is whispering about the collapse of the entire industry. Service providers are scrapping contracts. Customers are leaving in droves. The comments were filled with criticism and vitriol. Basically, everything hits the fan. And you are trying to clean it up. What should you think of when you pick up the metaphorical broom and dustpan? Fame in the eye of the beholder I created this industry mailing list to assert an important point: there are many different types of people forming about who your company is, what you stand for, how corrupt you are, how pure your character is, what kind of influence thoughts of you in this world, and any other thoughts they hold. There is no single reputation for your business. It has as much reputation as the people who perceive your company. This is where things get tricky. We often discuss "reputation" as if it were a whole - indivisible, coherent, clear, good or bad, positive or negative. But, of course, you understand that this reputation is not so set in stone. Mrs. Jones has a different view of Widget Inc. than Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Smith has a different view of Widget Inc. than Ms.
Fitzpatrick. Fame is in the eye of the beholder. So, who are those bystanders? honorary perceiver Allow me to state this in clinical terms: Fact: Every different person has a different concept of reputation. In other words, Mrs. Jones and Mr. Smith see your company in two different ways. Fact: For everyone who holds an honorary opinion, that opinion is based on three things: 1) the information they absorb, 2) the particular opinion they hold, and 3) the cognitive biases they hold Let's go back to Widget Inc., where things are bleak and you're standing there with a broom and dustpan in your hand. Who is the person who perceives your reputation? Mrs Jones is the lead investor, whose investment firm owns 12% of the company. She thinks the business will make a comeback. Her company is buying more Widget Inc. stock at record low prices. She rejects industry dogfights and makes informed decisions based on her personal history as a successful investor, what she's seen before, and the fact that her great-grandfather founded the company. Mr. Smith is a senior manager of internal policy, a job that's more boring than it sounds, and he thinks his handwriting from his tenure at Widget Inc. is on the wall. Smith's five years at Widget have been boring, and he doesn't dislike New Jersey traffic. Mr. Smith gets all his information from his friends on Facebook Messenger.
That said, he has been having rumored conversations with six colleagues about the situation at the company. He was embarrassed to admit to his bowling league friends that he worked at Widget, and his $92,000 annual salary seemed ridiculously low for someone of his abilities. At least, he thinks so, based on his recent arguments with his wife. Mr Smith has sent resumes to five different companies. Ms. Fitzpatrick's Widget Company customer bit customer, that is, until she googled "widget inc scandal" and her eyes blurred with an apparent bad reflection when the company's Widget Fitzpatrick canceled her contract last week Two business jargon headlines, ate early termination fees, and then fled to different service providers. Au revoir, client Fitzpatrick. three people. Three honors. three life states. Three options. It's staring in your face when your loosening of the broom handle turns into a white knot of fear. You can't possibly identify every conceivable iteration of reputation, let alone respond. But it's important for you to acknowledge that there are different groups of people that are building your company's reputation. Here are a few: existing customers Old customers future customers Former employees and current pension holders retiring employees new employee prospective employee senior management or executives of the company
One article was "Widget Inc. Saves 10,000 Kittens From Death and Donates $1 Billion to UNICEF." Another article is "Widget's CEO Caught With Pants Down." Which one did you click? When you conceived of your widget's reputation, which one was the most formative? This quest comes in its most obvious form through an online search. We search on Google, and Google starts to understand our search habits and preferences to provide information it thinks we'll like. Facebook also understands which news articles we are most eager to click on or what our friends are sharing, and algorithmically adjusts our news feed accordingly. Your initial preferences and interactions with search engines or social platforms trigger a series of machine learning responses that give you the information you want to see...or the information the search engine wants to see. People rely on the opinions of others. Finally, let's not ignore one of the most important issues - the opinions of others. There is so much content in the world that no one person can digest a fraction of it. Why bother? Everyone has their own opinion, and we are born to trust others. Also, we are mentally lazy. You don't need to read boring reviews if you can just ask Fred what he thinks.