How to manage your reputation

Dr. Jossy Nkwocha’s book Reputation Management and Branding (Zoom Lens Publishers, Port Harcourt; 2016) is an interesting addition to your repertoire, your library and toolkit. Nkwocha, a distinguished journalist and public relations consultant, is also the author of Effective Public Relations.

His new book addresses the reputation challenges of businesses, government and non-governmental organisations, is applicable to company chief executives, students, government image-makers, marketers and public relations practitioners.

In his foreword to the book, Director of Lagos Business School, Prof. Pat Utomi, avers that modern corporations are conceived to live forever, but their average lifespan is shorter than that of man. Goodwill, also known as reputation, is a critical asset in achieving success in business.

But from the last decade of the 20th century, corporations and governments have come to realise the great value of good reputation. Which is why they have deployed immense human and material resources to manage their reputation through branding.

Thus, reputation management is replete with critical elements such as corporate governance, strategic communication, corporate social responsibility, events management and crisis management. Nkwocha has extended the frontiers of identity management and customer relations with the unique selling point of case studies, which are rare in most of Nigeria’s published works. These case studies help explain the practical application of the concepts enunciated in the volume.

These principles are from Nkwocha’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and his public relations columns in BusinessDay between 2004 and 2007. In her preface to this first edition, the Head of Department of Marketing at the university of Nigeria, Enugu campus, Professor Justie Nnabuko, says that reputation management and branding are important courses in marketing, public relations and advertising.

Every organisation and business needs reputation management and branding. Happily, how this can be applied is clearly explained in this book. Even for individuals, company executives, country presidents and state governors will record amazing successes in their reputations through shrewd management and branding. Since perception is everything, so is reputation. In public relations and marketing, reputation is taken very seriously. Perception may not be real, but in the minds of the people, it is more powerful than reality.

That reputation is everything shows that a company’s reputation is its most valuable asset. As a highly prized possession, reputation is a most potent driving force for the progress and profitability of businesses and governments. Reputation is more solid than image. It takes time to build and nurture reputation and it endures more than image. But reputation built over decades could be ruined in an instant through a mistake. This is why corporate organizations and governments devote great resources to managing their reputation.

Reputation Management and Branding: With Nigerian Case Studies is the PhD thesis of the author, which is distilled into this 13-chapter book. The diversity of the study and its findings in corporate reputation management make the volume an invaluable addition to your toolkit. Reputation and branding involve everyone in an organisation. A company’s products, services, policies and programmes play key roles in its reputation.

Part one deals with definitions, explores the multi disciplinary nature of corporate reputation. Chapter three examines the differences between reputation and image with the various arguments put up by scholars as to why reputation is superior to image. The author enumerates the key drivers and benefits of corporate reputation. He makes it crystal clear that good reputation enhances business growth, profitability and survival in the competitive global market.

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