Can managing six layers of reputation help marketers build better reputations?
In the first of an interview series with our members across the UK regions, CIM spoke to Brian Doidge, CIM South West chair about the six layers of reputation and how these layers can help marketers build on reputational credits.
How can marketers create a positive reputation?
As professional marketers we all have a set of moral principles, which govern our behaviour and the way we generally conduct ourselves, both professionally and privately. This usually acts as the very platform upon which our reputation is constructed. As professionals, we inevitably take great pride in having the qualities that society would readily connect, with those who are clearly both competent and committed.
What practical steps can you give marketers wanting to build and protect their reputation?
Ensuring that what we do is manifestly legal, decent and honest has been a core aspect of our collective conscious for decades. The six-layer model below, will help to frame our activities, but it should also challenge our own perceptions of the relative importance of the individual components of our reputation.
The six layers of reputation management:
• Attainment: Asking if we have achieved something of significance is always going to turn out to be a very sobering question. Is there actually something that we have worked very hard to achieve, particularly a qualification, which we feel is an obvious cause for deserved celebration? It could however, turn out to be, that this is the very accomplishment, which will also act as the platform that we initially build our reputation upon. CIM has a smart and flexible range of qualifications from level three through to level seven that can assist you in this endeavour, if you need to meet your attainment needs. Our Graduate Gateway universities and new recognition programme ensure that more people studying marketing and related disciplines can guarantee their course or qualification meets CIM’s respected industry standards. Businesses can also use the recognition programme to upskill staff and ensure internal training aligns to industry best-in-class.
• Achievement: Qualities like having a willingness to go the extra mile, demonstrating resilience and being able to operate in an inevitably ambiguous environment for example, will help. However, it is your readiness to volunteer and to stretch and challenge yourself that will be the basis for obtaining these reputational credits.
• Acknowledgement: Do we accept that the best way to gain recognition, is to be recognised, by someone who is recognised? Testimonials and endorsements are a long-standing feature of business, of course. However, knowing how to use this, to provide the acceptance of our positive reputation, will be key too.
• Affiliation: We seem to readily accept the concept of guilty by association but seem to miss the point that we can also turn this principle on its head. Who are the other professionals that you are networking with and what is their status? Is your relationship with them a source of great pride and something that adds to your own standing? Or is it something of a reputational risk? Is it a risk that you are comfortable with? How are you monitoring and enhancing this layer of reputation? Growing your professional network is important and can clearly add value to your reputational credits.
• Announcement: Asking marketing professionals not to carry out promotional activity, will always have a low likelihood of proceeding without fuss. So, it is important that we ensure that you have a clear message, which warrants publicity. Try not to follow the crowd and instead come up with your own thoughts and opinions.
• Antidote: Once you become aware of any reputational impurity manifesting, knowing how to respond, will become a critical factor. An obvious objective here, will be to ensure that you retain the reputational credits that you have worked tirelessly to bank. If you did get something wrong, apologise and make amends at the earliest possible opportunity.
Is there a particular brand that you feel has a great reputation? And why?
This is actually a big question of course, as there are many very reputable brands out there doing a great job. However, the very first one I thought of was Waitrose. Obviously this is a long standing, tried and tested brand (with two Royal Warrants of course) that still remains very true to its core identity and to the needs of its customers. It has somehow been able to continually have a reputation for being up market, while being able to also have relatively comparable prices to the big four supermarkets.
They say people buy from people – so therefore reputation is key. Do you agree?
I agree, but with some caveats. There are examples now of companies that have been able to seriously de-personalise their business that seem to be thriving. However this often in turn draws in negative publicity too. Which as a longer term strategy is more risky. However for most SMEs the need for personalisation is a competitive advantage opportunity that should be seized upon vigorously.
What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time?
I am sure there would be many things I would have done differently. However, I would make sure I selected great role models, and used them to guide me even more. I would have balanced the need for quick wins with the even greater need for more significant ones. I would also wholeheartedly recommend thinking about how best to respond to difficult situations before responding to them.
What key activities are going on in your region, which members should know about?
We are very fortunate in the South West to enjoy the support of really great partners. For example, we are very proud of our Mike Warne event which is organised by final year BA (Hons) Marketing Communications students from Bournemouth University and supported by CIM and Graham Goode, senior lecturer in Marketing Communications at Bournemouth University. The event honours the memory of CIM regional director, Mike Warne, who was a strong advocate for building relationships between aspiring marketing students and CIM. For the last 12 years, the event has celebrated innovation in marketing, addressing topical issues within the industry and 2019 will be no exception. We also provide first class local learning activities around our region on topics ranging from Mastering Google Analytics through to Branding and Digital Marketing through to proofreading. One that is going to be particularly popular, will be the forthcoming Measuring Marketing Effectiveness workshop in Exeter.