What is Reputation Capital and why is it important?


Previously a soft measure, now a cold hard commodity.

As the world changes, the way we value brands and business as well as industry and political leaders is shifting with it. Technology has driven rapid advancement in communications and in the information age, this has had an immense impact on organisational – and broader – reputation.

In the last decade, reputation has become equally as valuable a commodity as human, intellectual, and investment capital.

Recent seismic events in both South Africa politics and business have highlighted just how important Reputation Capital has become at both an industry and country level.

In a largely digitally driven world where stakeholders hold the power over the information they consume and are able to drive their own news agenda without relying solely on news media anymore, reputation and taking accountability have become the golden thread integral to success.

However in this world where individuals are continually bombarded with written, audio and video content the independent media remains the most important conduits of accurate information to help stakeholders and consumers make informed decisions.

As we see greater importance being placed on values, principles, ethics and trust by stakeholders and consumers, the standards by which they measure brands and companies are becoming more sophisticated.

Business with purpose or shared value – the intertwining of business success and investment into growing the communities that the business operates in and sources talent from – has become an important element of the decision-making process for consumers and other stakeholders.

Modern business therefore has to take into account how they operate, who they hire, who their partners are and the role they play in society – without fail and authentically, otherwise they will lose the trust (and business) of their stakeholders.

Reputation Capital must become a consideration when making business decisions and organisations that want to enjoy success in the future must invest in talent or partners who can help them manage their reputation – not just at the point of crisis, but continually, as part of the day to day business operations.

  • Sharon Piehl

    As general manager of FleishmanHillard’s Johannesburg office, Sharon Piehl provides clients with counsel in many areas. With over 20 years’ experience in the communications industry, she has served as both the lead of the brand marketing portfolio in the Johannesburg...

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