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Reputation 'can impact bottom line'

09/10/2013

Research presented at the Public Relations Consultants Association's (PRCA's) annual conference has underlined the importance that a company's reputation has to its bottom line.

This will be obvious to many marketing professionals, who make a living in improving the way brands are perceived by the general public. However, it seems that the message is also getting across to the boardroom.

Some 72 per cent of respondents saw a link between reputation and financial well-being, reports PR Weekly.

Just six per cent saw this as a being a reasonably weak link, while only nine per cent felt there was no connection at all between the two things.

Furthermore, 52 per cent of in-house communications managers felt that the board of directors took responsibility for their firm's reputation, highlighting just how much PR and comms has made an impression on the top level of the corporate world.

In total, 46 senior in-house communicators across the public and private sector including charities, membership organisations, financial services and technology sectors were surveyed.

Despite the positive results reported above, PR experts admitted that generating hard data on how reputation affects companies remains a major challenge for the industry.

Barclays head of comms Stephen Doherty spoke at the conference and stressed the importance of ethical behaviour throughout an organisation if PR is to be successful, according to Brand Republic.

"My job is to get people to notice the evidence base. Without an evidence base, I'm toast," he declared, adding that people will judge the bank on its actions over the next decade rather than its marketing or communications strategy.

He added that reputation was based on high-quality relationships with stakeholders, claiming: "If you get to a position where you have trust, commercial success will take care of itself."

Other people involved in the annual conference included Diageo corporate relations director Ian Wright and executive director for government communications Alex Aiken, who stressed the importance of PR creating its own quality content.