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Why is reputation important? ( Archived )

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Why is reputation important? Posted by

I am currently compiling a presentation for Members on reputation and I am struggling to come up with a succinct reason for why reputation matters. Needless to say, this is completely undermining my whole presentation!

I've read the Reputation Guide and even their section on 'why is reputation important?' completely ignores the answer. I've Googled and, again, no one actually comes up with a decent answer that can be applied to a public sector organisation.

Any ideas?

James Ramsay
03 Nov 2011 13:04

7 replies for this posting

Re: Why is reputation important? Posted by

In the commercial world, reputation is important because it influences purchasing choices. If you think a company has a good reputation, you trust it, and you trust its products. So you are more likely to buy the product and so the company makes a profit. In the public sector including local government people (as customers) don't generally have as much choice in their 'purchasing' decisions as there is often only one provider - e.g. at the moment you can't choose to have your bins collected by a different org or take your planning applications elsewhere.
In local government, on the officer side, a tangible financial impact of caring about customer satisfaction and reputation management is minimising complaints which cost money to resolve.
But where do the customers make a choice? Through the democratic process of course! Therefore the most important point for your presentation will relate directly to the elected members.
Reputation is particularly important to elected members in the leading / ruling party because (in voters' eyes) it reflects directly on their success as a leadership and could therefore have an influence on how people vote in the next elections. If the public have a low opinion of the Council generally then they might feel inclined to change their voting patterns in the future, which could potentially lead to a change in leadership.
This is why some opposition politicians occasionally think it is worthwhile criticising their own Council e.g. in the local press.
Finally, back to the officer side, reputation is a two-way street where employee engagement plays a key role (pride in the organisation). Here, officer pride can benefit from a good reputation as well as further building it, e.g. in forging good relationships with citizens that officers come in contact with, and building trust when working with the citizens and partners in the district, borough or city.
I would be interested to know how any politicians see the issue?!
Hope this helps.
Best wishes
PS these opinions are my own, not those of my employer ;^)

Josephine Smith
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
03 Nov 2011 14:34

Re: Why is reputation important? Posted by

No doubt your elected members will be very interested in the political angle but I think for most residents the face of the council is the person who answers the phone, their social worker, planning officer or whatever. And a good reputation helps get better engagement with residents, more positive involvement with community groups, fewer complaints, better staff morale and more people wanting to work for us - all helping to avoid waste and get value for money from our services. If staff feel their work is valued they have an incentive to maintain standards.
And if a council knows it has a good reputation with the community there is no need to spend money on 'selling' itself - which is pointless for a monopoly. Sorry,that's not the short definition you wanted! But if you can show how reputation helps get value for money that should please your members as well.

Janet McCarter
East Sussex County Council
04 Nov 2011 14:34

Re: Why is reputation important? Posted by

My comments are observations which I have seen generally, e.g. where I live and even in national politics - not specific to where I work ;-)

Josephine Smith
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
04 Nov 2011 14:41

Re: Why is reputation important? Posted by

I'm tempted to summarise it as: "Do you want people to believe you?"

Louise Reeve
Policy and Information Officer
Newcastle City Council
04 Nov 2011 15:09

Re: Why is reputation important? Posted by

I'm sure you have quite enough information to plan your forthcoming presentation on reputation, but if you still need a succint summary I would recommend that you use the term used in the private sector. It is known as CRM, ie Customer Relationship Management. It embodies all the suggestions made by the officers in answer to your enquiry. I would particularly mention the importance of telephone response times and the degreee of knowledge by the relevant departmental representative. Also, you might consider having a weekly question and answer column in your local newspaper.

Ron Trewellard
Communication consultant
07 Nov 2011 12:00

Re: Why is reputation important? Posted by

To put it succintly:
Reputation is trust.
Trust directly influences two things:
1. Speed (of purchase, decision, adoption)
2. Cost (cost of doing business)
I'd recommend Stephen Coveys: The speed of trust

Mike Speranza
Online CRM for small businesses

Mike Speranza
06 May 2012 15:24

Re: Why is reputation important?
Posted by

Reliability is a key factor. As previously stated 'trust' is also important.
Who or what has a good reputation - then ask yourself - why do you consider them to have a good reputation. Probably a good experience in the past; hence some may share your view whilst others may not. It is quite subjective.

Cliff Brunt
Castle Point Borough Council
06 May 2012 21:38

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