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A CEO’s Guide to Reputation Management

The right CEO reputation management strategy protects your image and your bottom line.

As a CEO, you need to be aware of both your brand as well as your company’s brand. Here is everything you need to know about CEO reputation management.

What’s in a name? When you’re in business, your reputation is in your name, and your reputation is your marker of success.

But don’t take our word for it. Just look at the world’s 15 largest publicly-listed companies, whose reputation accounts for a third of their share price. This means that your reputation as CEO is either your best asset or your worst enemy. And CEO reputation management is what makes the difference.

Here’s a closer look at what CEO reputation management is, why you need it, and how to get started, even if you’re brand new to the concept.

What is Reputation Management?

Businesses often believe that reputation management comes down to two things: the quality of the product/service you provide, and the notion that quality speaks for itself. Alternately, many businesses believe that witty Twitter posts and a marketing manager with an eye for press releases get you everything you need.

In reality, business reputation management (and CEO reputation management) is a lot more complex.

Reputation management is the whole picture of how you present yourself and how customers perceive you. It includes things like content creation and search engine optimization, but it also includes broader techniques to keep your reputation polished and positive.

These days, the CEO’s personal reputation is increasingly aligned with the success (or failure) of the overall business’s reputation.

What is Reputation Management Software?

Reputation management software handles the first part of the equation. This includes your SEO, your online monitoring, your social media management, and the like.

For example, reputation management software might scan the web for you and send alerts when it finds mention of you.

Basically, reputation management software is part of the technical side of reputation management, but in order to deploy it properly, you have to understand the human side too.

Why You Need CEO Reputation Management

This is where CEO reputation management becomes critical.

Picture a band you like. Whose face comes to mind first. Chances are, it was the lead singer. The lead singer may not be the leader of the band itself, but they are the public face and sound of the band, which makes the band immediately recognizable.

As CEO, you’re both the leader and the public face of your company. In fact, communicating for the company is one of the basic elements of your job description.

And in today’s day and age, that makes CEO reputation management more important than ever.

Employees are the New Corporate Conscience

We’ve been debating whether a corporation can have a conscience since the 1980s. Whether or not it can isn’t the important part here. What’s important is that employees want corporations to have a conscience.

In fact, 75% of Millennials say they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.

The problem is that a corporation is a vague entity, not a person, and employees translate conscience cues from the human behavior they see.

In plain English, they’re likely to associate the CEO’s behavior and conscience into corporate conscience, since the CEO is the one calling the shots.

And if the CEO doesn’t care about social responsibility, that reflects poorly on the company’s reputation.

Executive Reputation and Corporate Reputation are One and the Same

This brings us to the second point: in the eyes of your employees, customers, and the public, the executive reputation and corporate reputation are the same thing.

Don’t believe it? Look at the finance industry. Around 95% of financial analysts say they would purchase stock based on the CEO’s reputation. 94% said they would recommend the stock to others based on the CEO’s reputation.

Oh, and 44% of a company’s market value is attributable to the CEO’s reputation.

Think of CEOs like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, or Bill Gates. The CEO of today has to approach reputation management much like a political candidate running for office, if the campaign never ended.

It’s not just a nice thing–it’s what allows you to keep your leadership platform and what allows your company to stay on the right side of public opinion.

Reputation is Something You Can Shape

Here’s the catch: a lot of CEOs and companies think of reputation as something that happens to them. This means they take their good reputation for granted until something goes wrong, at which point their reputation goes up in flames.

Ironically, this is the point at which you need a good reputation the most–and the moment when past investments in reputation pay off.

In reality, reputation is not something that happens to you. It’s something you can shape. And if you’re not working every day to build goodwill in case you ever need it, your reputation exists mostly at the whim of the public.

CEO Reputation Management Tips

For a CEO, there are two things you can do to get started with reputation management: do an audit and bring in a reputation management service.

The first part is relatively simple. Start by doing an incognito Google search of your full name and peruse the first five search results. Take notes on the contents and tone. Don’t panic if the results on later pages aren’t positive–71% of searchers don’t go beyond the first page.

Or, as the old SEO joke goes, the best place to hide a body is page two of Google search results.

Bringing in a reputation management service is a practical investment. CEO reputation management is a full-time job in its own right, and if you’re doing it right, you should treat it as an investment in your company’s success, because it is.

Don’t settle for anything less than professional-grade.

The Reputation Management Company You Can Count On

At NetReputation, we know the power of your good name. We also know that the best CEO reputation management works fast–and never sleeps.

That’s why our business reputation management works in two ways: we work fast to suppress the negative and do the legwork to highlight the positive, all with proven technical tools.

So if you’re ready to take charge of your reputation, get in touch today to find out more about how we can empower your business.

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