The 7 Biggest Surprises In Corporate Reputation Strategy

Executives are about corporate reputation. It is far simpler than the public relations department will say.

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Treating corporate reputation as a function of public relations is like treating your attractiveness as something you delegate to a personal shopper at Saks Fifth Ave. (click to tweet)

The nine factors that inspire admiration for a company range from integrity and vision to having a chic image (women like integrity, men prefer vision); when people admire a company, they tend to respond in as many as eight different ways, including “buy the product” to “follow on social media” (although for Russians, it was “feeling connected”).

Our research focused on these, and the result we discovered is they key to improving corporate reputation.

There is no magic elixir, unless your boss is Steve Jobs. But in getting the right mix of these ingredients for your particular company, country, and demographic, you can do a much better job of enhancing corporate reputation than you may realize.


(for the full results of our 2018 study, click here)

  1. In 2018, the top 20 most admired companies exemplified three leadership qualities — integrity, closely followed by visionary leadership and innovation. Yet regions and genders differ in how they feel about the mix of these ingredients. Corporate reputation analysis requires careful attention to these variances.
  2. Businesses spend far too much time on the unimportant (but costly) variables of corporate reputation. It reduces credibility by not focusing on the real challenges the public cares about. It is why the impact of a crisis often hardens rather than recedes. (click to Tweet)
  3. The public sees good works like layers in a Dagwood sandwich. One sits on top of another in the corporate reputation database, but the RAM storage is insufficient, and soon there is total memory failure. Only the most traumatic incident is recalled.
  4. Integrity is everything. We live in an era of hyper-information and false truthhood, which is to say, the world suffers from an integrity deficit. It cries out for believability as the most important leadership quality.
  5. When a company is deficient in believability, it falls under the corporate version of Newton’s Law — get in trouble, stay in trouble.
  6. Those who admire the company are willing to defend against it on social media. They should be classified as influencers who need to be activated by an inspired leader.
  7. Admirers make the best customers and will recommend the company to friends. The impact of admiration has the greatest impact on financial results.
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  • To understand what drives admiration.
  • To find which leadership qualities are most admirable.
  • To find how stakeholders respond to companies they admire.


  • Corporate reputation research and strategies
  • Customer strategies and insights
  • Leadership style development
  • Media and social media influences
  • Demographic and attitudinal trends
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Written by

Producer of Extraordinary Lives 2019 @TellyAwards for documentaries @; Author of Be Somebody @; ex-publisher @Forbes

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