News & Insights

All together now: How long does it take to ruin a reputation? Reputation management is not crisis comms

This is not another article about reputation that falls back on quoting Warren Buffett.

Well actually, it is … but only to make the point that whilst he may be right, he isn’t completely right and simply bowing to the Sage of Omaha doesn’t offer a practical approach to reputation management, which is what executives and boards most need. 

As a reminder Buffett said, 

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently”. 

Where he’s right is that a company’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. And we can all think of specific examples of established companies that have trashed or jeopardised hard won credibility and loyalty, through spectacular accidents and self-inflicted acts of mismanagement. 

But, is Buffett really suggesting that every decision is so binary? If it was, management teams would be forgiven for being paralysed by fear of messing up. 

In reality, a reputation more frequently declines gradually. Or, at least, it begins to decline sometime before it falls off the cliff. There are warning signs if you are paying attention to the right indicators. 

Of course, when a corporate reputation does fall off a cliff, everybody notices, but by then it is usually too late to do much about it. 

The challenge for boards and executives is to be able to identify a declining reputation or specific risk early enough to engage and address it.

Bringing together years of experience with unprecedented levels of data and some of the latest digital tools to analyse it, we believe we can go a long way to providing an answer. 

The prize is management information that delivers a dynamic assessment of corporate reputation, as a whole and across critical stakeholders, which in turn enables board members and executives to consider the impact of the strategic decisions they are making.

What are you doing today, to be sure you are prepared for tomorrow?

Interested in learning more? 

Please reach out to Jon Rhodes to learn more about how BOLDT can help you.