No other tool drives reputation management more effectively than public relations.
What Is Reputation Management, and How Does It Drive Investment Decisions?
Corporate reputation refers to what people think of your brand, company, or product. Reputation management deals with the efforts to influence and burnish such public perceptions - critical to your business’ survival and success. It has become pivotal in its impact on investor relationships, confidence, and, ultimately, decisions. The same goes for rapid, open response when there’s a problem or a crisis – the response immediately effects your reputation.
Just as businesses need investment capital to accelerate their value, investors rely on information about the financial, technical, and reputational details of a company to evaluate them as a good or bad investment. If two companies are being researched, and they perform similarly but one has a significantly better reputation, it’s that company that will be more attractive -- unless they’re going for a bargain play.
Does Public Relations = Reputation Management?
According to the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), “Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you.” Meanwhile, Blogspot’s Caroline Forsey says, “Public Relations professionals help a business ... cultivate a positive reputation with the public through various unpaid or earned communications .... They also help clients defend their reputation during a crisis that threatens their credibility.”
Five Ways PR Drives Reputation Management and Investor Confidence
1) Creates a powerful image for the brand - Hiring a PR company to develop a well-executed messaging document and run your campaigns. This establishes the communications consistency necessary to build the company’s credibility, improve online search results, attract new clients, and impress investors. Startups and small businesses, pair the campaign with a well-designed and content-optimized website - the first place everyone looks at for information.
2) Provides media/influencer relations expertise – The media’s job is to expose companies, whether they’re thriving or crumbling. PR professionals can drive the positive media and influencer coverage required to influence public opinion and provide rapid intervention to address negative perceptions that can damage a company’s reputation.
3) Prepares you for a crisis - Investors hate surprises. You need a crisis communications plan that can mitigate fallout immediately and actively, and a reputation recovery strategy post-crisis.
4) Engenders trust - A recent report reveals that trust is the most critical factor in investment decisions, and you can leverage PR to build trust via: credibility building - placing content in trusted news outlets; thought leadership, with expert-authored content shared by employees, customers, or social media followers; high search rankings - the more times your website is linked to, the greater your audience engagement; and referrals - trust-building customer testimonials and success stories built into your PR strategy.5) Makes your company look good - Your PR agency can help you establish Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs that buff your corporate reputation and differentiate you. More importantly, involving potential investors and stakeholders in such CSR activities and taking on social causes they care about enhances both your community presence and investor relationships.
Investor Funds Are Your Company’s Lifeblood
When it comes to rep management, don’t go it alone.
Choose professionalism and efficiency. If you’ve ever tried to do PR, you already know that it’s as time consuming as it is effective. Get samples of an agency’s work, get recommendations, and interview them to see with whom you’re comfortable. Then, work hand-in-glove to build the PR system that enhances your business, addresses its goals, and adds to your reputation to attract investors.