From Enron and WorldCom to the Catholic Church and Major League Baseball, reputation crises have never been more widespread. Now Ronald J. Alsop, a veteran Wall Street Journal authority on branding and reputation management, explains the dangers -- and gives organizations the eighteen crucial laws to follow in developing and protecting their reputations.
Consider this example of a simple decision made by a low-ranking employee: When rescue workers at the site of the World Trade Center disaster sought bottled water from a nearby Starbucks outlet, they complained that an employee charged them for it. In a matter of hours, the Internet had picked up the story and Starbucks' carefully cultivated worldwide reputation was quickly besmirched.
This is just one instance among many of how the business world, ever more global and competitive, has become increasingly difficult to navigate. Studies have demonstrated the powerful impact of reputation on profits and stock prices, and yet less than half of all companies have a formal system for measuring reputation. Clearly, companies in every industry -- from Dow Chemical to Disney to DaimlerChrystler -- have much more to learn.
It is still the rare company that realizes the full value of its reputation: how corporate reputation can enhance business in good times, become a protective halo in turbulent times, and be destroyed in an instant by people at the lowest or highest levels of the corporate ladder. Mr. Alsop provides eighteen thoroughly documented lessons based on years of experience covering every aspect of corporate reputation, with a clear distillation of the complex principles at the heart of a reputation. He explains:
How to protect your reputation when the inevitable crisis hits
How to cope with the many hazards in cyberspace
How to create a reputation for vision and industry leadership
How to establish a culture of ethical behavior
How to measure and monitor your ever-changing public image
How to make employees your reputation champions
How to decide when it's time to change your name
The result is a book that is important not only for business executives, consultants, and advertising, public relations, and marketing professionals but also for anyone eager to learn more about the companies they work for, buy from, and invest in.