Alsop’s Law Two: Reputation Measurement

29 Mar

When reading my Facebook link to yesterday’s post on the topic of Ronald Alsop’s corporate reputation tome, a good friend said:

That book sounds ridiculously boring and tedious. Try Harry Potter.

This same friend also said to me 12 years ago, just after my daughter was born, when I was getting zero sleep and never thought I would leave my house again:

Don’t worry, things will go back to normal soon.

Well, that good friend now has a two-year-old son that is keeping him very busy these days. “Soon” is a relative term, I have reminded my friend. He is a person that my husband and I have regarded as an older brother of sorts, and he is our children’s godfather (all the better since his last name is Italian). It makes me think of how much has changed in the time since my daughter was born.

images1What does my friend’s advice have to do with Alsop and corporate reputation? It’s all about perspective. The second law points out the importance of taking the pulse of your corporate reputation. Assessing reputation, through industry-proven metrics like Harris’ Reputation Quotient, Hay Group/Fortune’s Most Admired Companies or CoreBrand’s Brand Power, is big business. People pay for this insight, and for good reason.

Alsop’s point with law two is similar to the sorting hat in Harry Potter. Like the hat’s process for sorting people into different houses at Hogwarts, the public’s process for sorting a company’s reputation will differ depending upon circumstances. Those who’ve read Harry Potter know that his house was a toss-up between Gryffindor (open-hearted and good-doing) and Slytherin (power-hungry and possibly up to no good).

As Alsop schools us, reputation management is not customer satisfaction. The best measures are painstakingly researched reputation attributes that align most closely with each company’s core values. So it’s all relative, up to a point. Sure, there are basic reputation do’s and don’ts, following along the same themes as the Ten Commandments or the Hippocratic Oath. But depending on what part of the world a company selling its products or services, the measure for corporate reputation will vary. Europeans put more stock in a company’s social responsibility. Value-added differentiators are more important in Japan. In China, respect for history makes a difference.

Media monitoring is key in reputation measurement. Are news media discussing your company favorably, unfavorably or neutrally? Or not at all? Depending upon who you are and what you do for business, any one of those could be optimal. Social media measurement is a newer capability of PR firms, leveraging the insights of tools like Radian6. Those active in the social media world know that listening is one important part of sharing in the conversation. If corporations do not take the time to listen to what’s being said about their reputations in the social media space, they ignore an important reputation metric.

Companies are capable of stellar reputations, yet brands are sullied by missed details or missteps that make all the difference in the end. Little things DO count when it comes to reputation. One day you’re in Gryffindor, the next day it could be Slytherin, depending on how you deliver (or not) on your promises. Reputation measurement is undertaken to provide feedback to companies to help them sustain over the long haul, with a series of carefully chosen steps towards stellar public perception.


4 Responses to “Alsop’s Law Two: Reputation Measurement”

  1. Ed Burghard March 30, 2009 at 5:52 am #

    There is a good discussion of Alsop’s work as it relates to place reputation posted on

    • toknowbetter March 30, 2009 at 7:16 am #


      I added your site to my blogroll…hope this sends you some referring traffic.

  2. Amber Naslund March 30, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    Good morning,

    Enjoyed your post! Monitoring really serves a few purposes, not the least of which is benchmarking where you’re starting from in regard to reputation, and helping you guide your corporate communication efforts on an ongoing basis.

    It’s becoming an increasingly important part of any business’ outreach strategy, and I’m excited to see all the discussions taking place about this important topic!

    Thanks so much for mentioning us.

    Amber Naslund
    Director of Community | Radian6

    • toknowbetter March 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm #


      Thanks for your comment…note that I updated my post to include Radian6’s link.

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