PR Spearheads the Shift towards a “Reputation Economy”

Mumbai, 25 September, 2013 -MSLGROUP in India and Eikona PR Measurement yesterday announced the launch of their co-authored report, ‘Reputation: How it is built and maintained, and the role of PR’.

MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupe’s flagship strategic communications and engagement company, and the largest public relations and social media network in India. Eikona is a division of TAM Media Research, specialising in reputation measurement and regular audits of PR communication.

Businesses are becoming increasingly conscious of the importance of corporate reputation. They have found that it is customers’ perception of a company that drives purchases. It is also what attracts talent and assures partners that they are doing business with somebody they can trust. Ultimately, it is not just the end users that corporations are looking to impress; they are striving to connect with all stakeholders, which include employees, vendors, the community and the government.

The report analyses the growing importance of reputation management and its impact on the PR industry. Some of the points the report makes:

  • Corporate reputations are the sum total of the beliefs held by individuals about companies’ past actions and future potential. It is stakeholders’ collective actions and sentiments – whether to purchase a product, buy shares of the company’s stock, or recommend the company to others – that determine every company’s ability to stay in business.
  • Reputation is an intangible asset, but its effects are real. Indeed, reputation is acting on companies all the time — an invisible yet powerful influence that can either help or hinder a company as it strives to meet its objectives.
  • From credit terms to employee retention, reputation can have a serious impact. Like gravitational pull, reputation makes it easier or more difficult for your company to get where it needs to go.

Normally, most product categories’ presence in the annual advertising calendar does not exceed four months. On the other hand, PR support for the same products stretches to at least eight months of the calendar, which is a unique opportunity for the PR industry. Its scope is widening from the narrow media relations space to leading the overall brand building and maintenance function. It is now up to the PR industry to evolve from being second fiddle to advertising and corporate communications to becoming the leader in the marketing communications ecosystem.

In India, we are already seeing movement on this. Many corporations are working communications objectives into CEOs’ and other key spokespersons’ key result areas. Corporate communications executives are spending more time with CEOs and MDs. PR is increasingly being acknowledged as a brand-builder on par with other tools.

Jaideep Shergill, CEO, MSLGROUP India, said: “Communicators are calling this the ‘Reputation Economy’, and rightly so. Reputation management could be the fuel for your business’ growth. Through this report, we wish to highlight the importance of reputation on the long-term future of businesses and also that the PR industry in India is uniquely geared to provide the strategic thinking required to build and maintain corporate reputation.”

Siddhartha Mukherjee, Senior Vice-President, Eikona PR Measurement, added: “Till recently, India Inc. was focusing all its energies only towards Brand Visibility and Recall. As a welcome change, however, it is good to see that Top Management of some of the Corporates in India have realized the Impact of Corporate Brand Reputation in their Business Planning & Performance. Which is why, they are bringing Reputation into their KRA (Key Responsibility Areas) charter by implementing Research & Measurement matrices. Here is where, they are heavily depending on the usage of PR to create and sustain Brand Reputation.”

This report is the latest in a series of thought leadership papers released by MSLGROUP in India – in this report’s case, jointly with Eikona – over the past two years. These include reports on diverse subjects such as the opportunities and challenges before the Indian PR industry, 21 years of economic reforms, the impact of drought on FMCG companies, the rise of India’s gay economy, the e-commerce opportunity in India and an analysis of Brand IPL.