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Evaluating the media: Reputation - a slippery fish

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Monday, July 09, 2007

Reputation - a slippery fish

Reputation measurement is such a complex thing and is the theme of a discussion on the royaldutchshellplc.com site which investigates the complexity of the task and its impact on tangibles like share price.

Stock values is all about putting a price on a company, which in the past was not that much of a problem as you tallied up the plant and machinery, other assets, etc added in some goodwill and presto you had a value for your firm. Today life is more complex and the majority of an organisations assets are classed as intangible.

There are ways of calculating the value of intangible assets and if this area is of interest Kaplan's balances scorecards are worth reading up on. A big component of an organisations intangible assets would be reputation and one of the primary influences would be media coverage. Various providers of research in this area will suggest they can do all sorts of things not far short of predicting future share price movements. But reputation is a slippery fish - share price is influenced by reputation and the media affects reputation, but the media is not a silo. Multiple sources, multiple channels of varying influences to a varying style of audience.

In these days of innovative corporate deal making will we find there is a time when the private-equity bandwagon will see a cash return from simply improving a reputation? Sure, there are complex tools to help and a sophisticated level of understanding of how the reputation process can be manipulated. My view is that reputation is a delicate thing and any attempt to veneer a image over an unchanged whole would be seen as that alone.


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