How important is reputation to businesses within the Middle East?

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78% of senior executives in the Middle East see reputation as extremely important to them. Are you one of them?

Your reputation is what people think about you, your company, your services and the impact it can have on everything.

How you want to be perceived, can be very different to how the outside world views your organisation. Reputation has to be earned by creating a deeper understanding of what you do and winning consumer trust.

A strong reputation can help you to create customer advocacy and a loyal customer base, an attribute which could lead to winning new business, securing funding and hiring the best in your industry.

Recently Hill and Knowlton teamed up with YouGov, the global research firm to understand the role reputation plays and its importance within corporates across the Middle East. The survey, The Reputation Index, examines the importance senior executives place on their corporate reputation and the ways they assess their reputation, the factors they feel drives corporate reputation, who in a company has the most influence on reputation and the value of a strong reputation when facing a crisis. Respondents were questioned across the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The value of strong reputation management can be seen across the Gulf, with 78% of senior executives seeing reputation as extremely important, with over 95% of those asked ranking it as important.

When the respondents were asked about their perceived connection between corporate reputation and bottom line earnings, there was again strong consensus that the two are without doubt linked. Across the three markets, 82% “agreed” that their company’s reputation was indeed linked to their bottom line and hence overall business success.

In the UAE, internal employee engagement and feedback was also seen as important, with close to 30% using that option for assessing reputation. Notably - and interestingly - the options with lowest use by respondents in measuring the strength of their reputation were the review of published rankings, analysis of media coverage and tracking of ratings and commentary. Organisations today have to - and are - talking with the public and considering the public’s point of view at the most strategic level of decision making - more than ever before.

 Leadership reputation

Senior management and leadership teams were identified as being a key metric in determining and influencing a company’s reputation in the market, whilst transparency and delivering stakeholder expectations were also an important factor.

Over half of all those questioned said that the leadership of a company was “extremely influential” on its reputation. In the UAE specifically it was 53%, in KSA it was 56% and in Qatar it was higher at 72%.

Prevention is better than cure

Online and offline crises can often occur out of the blue, and the impact can damage a reputation in seconds. However, having a strong performing reputation can help companies recover quickly in times of crisis. 84% of respondents agreed that having a strong reputation can help companies recover quickly in a time of crisis – particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where 89% of respondents agreed.

And in response to the statement that companies with a weak reputation are most likely to suffer in a crisis, 69% overall were in “agreement” on this.


 5 easy steps to START protecting your online reputation today

The rise of the internet has given birth to a lot of good things … and a lot of things that are not so good. Your reputation and good name can end up in the hands of people you can’t identify—and who are in places you may not be able to point to on a map.

Individuals and corporates are all at risk of such impact, and if people aren’t seeing your best foot forward online, your competitors may see this as an advantage. Using some small tactics can help build your brand online and offer a small amount of protection in the unfortunate event of a crisis.

1: Treat your Google page 1 as your business card

2: Regularly monitor what is said about you online and address any negativities quickly, politely and helpfully.

3: Be radically transparent in all of your business activities

4: Protect all of your social and digital assetsfrom cybersquatting, hackers and digital attacks

5: Ask for help and advice from experts who understand search engine management.


You might also like to read our Guide to removing embarassing articles and images from the Internet

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Posted on 22 November 2016 by Christina Hamilton

Tagged reputation, crisis management