Earned media, purpose and corporate reputation
In a good integrated comms strategy, earned media is the place that you can show the reality and actions of your purpose, inject it with humanity, be industry leading and truly create and build influence. It’s a medium that can pay dividends in building and maintaining reputation.
And because you have to earn your place in the conversation, it’s now the second most important touchpoint in a consumer’s decision to buy a new brand or become a loyal customer, only behind price.
Reputation can underpin up to 35% of enterprise value (Reputation Dividend 2020), support sales (78% of people say they are willing to buy from companies with an ‘excellent’ reputation) and mitigate risk (64% of the public give the ‘benefit of the doubt’ to companies with an excellent reputation).
These are big gains to make and bank but they require more than a purpose statement on powerpoint or a well-crafted email to a journalist.
Reputation is built on what you do, not on promises or projections. It has to be earned and re-earned, through the right behaviours, actions and communications.
It’s the total of what your stakeholders think about you – a product of different views, opinions and priorities. It’s highly fragile, and it varies from country to country and from one type of stakeholder to another.
And in the current environment, with heightened political and cultural tensions and elevated expectations of business in society brought about by the pandemic, the climate and other crises, reputation is more important than ever.
Earning your place in the conversation – and using your purpose to drive reputation – means taking the right behaviours, actions and communications and turning them into stories that will influence what your stakeholders think about you.
A creative edge is important. Ideas that earn attention and build connections use a multi-layered communications approach combining real-time data and insights, compelling content and engaging experiences.
Remember that stakeholders are human! To make an impact, stories should trigger the right emotional response, with a familiar narrative arc, showing progress and impact.
Be human. Tell the stories of the people making a difference in your business and the stories of the people and communities that are being positively impacted by your purpose led approach.
And above all, be authentic and open. You don’t have to get everything right but by being authentic you build trust. You can be on a journey to improvement but don’t promise things you can’t deliver. While earned media can mega charge your reputation positively – it works both ways.
Media is hard to earn but get it right it’s the perfect place to demonstrate your purpose in action, take a leadership role and influence opinion leaders, policy makers, customers and future employees. A good integrated communications approach will recognise that ideas that earn are a great way to use purpose to maintain and build corporate reputation for the long term.