If you know me, you know I speak in analogies. I’m not quite sure why I’m always plucking them from the air–maybe it helps me to get my own mind around a concept–but I find myself coming up with new ones all the time.
My latest? The Reputation Round Table.
Speaking to a journalist recently, I wanted a clear way to explain why your reputation is no longer controlled 100% by you–you, being an individual or company.
The Old Way: The Board of Reputation
In the “olden days” your reputation was formed by a convening a meeting of the board of directors for your brand. The long, rectangular table had seating for you, your executive team, your attorney, PR firm, marketing folks, and maybe a single seat for your investors. The CEO/Chairman of the board sat at the head of the table, making the final decision on who, what, and how your reputation would be defined. Everyone at the table would be compelled to agree, and money would be spent to tell the world about your brand. All other stakeholders could only watch a live feed of the meeting–they took no active role.
The New Way: The Reputation Round Table
Fast forward to today’s Reputation Round Table. Much like the round table used by King Arthur and his knights, the table is, by definition, round–there is no head of the table. At the table you’ll find all of the above, but you’ll also find seated your customers, your employees, your investors, members of the media, and citizen journalists. Every voice is heard, every voice has an equal say in deciding your reputation. Each can exert equal influence, but neither has more say than the person seated to their left, or right. Your brand, your reputation is defined by what each person at the table has to say–it is not decided by any one individual.
Why am I sharing this with you? Online reputation management (ORM) is hitting its tipping point. I’m seeing it all around. More mentions in the media, more clients, and more companies offering ORM services. Yet, 99% of the world has yet to learn the importance of online reputation management. Hopefully the above analogy will cut through the industry jargon and allow you to explain–even to your grandmother–just what reputation management is.