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Image by Simone Secci

What is reputation?

Reputation is the strength of the emotional connection to a company or a person. In more scientific terms, reputation represents the collective perception resulting from the public and personal exchange of individual images as well as from one's own experiences with companies or people.


What is reputation management?

Reputation management is the steering of all measures that serve to strengthen and protect reputation. In more concrete terms, it means addressing the relevant stakeholders with the issues that are important to them and selecting the appropriate communication channels.

What is the difference between image and reputation?

The image of a company or a brand is formed on an individual level and can be influenced by the company even in the short term (e.g. new positioning, branding, claims, motifs, fonts, etc.).

Reputation, on the other hand, is formed on a collective level and tends to build up over the long term. It is influenced in many ways and can vary greatly among different stakeholder groups.


What then is the difference between corporate brand und corporate reputation?

The corporate brand is a self-presentation that can be controlled and adapted. It is usually product-dominated and is used for differentiation. It is a company's promise to its stakeholders ("intended promise") and "belongs" to the company.

Corporate reputation is shaped by the public; it is the perception in the eyes of stakeholders. It is organization-dominated and shows the degree to which the company fulfills its promises ("promise delivery"). It "belongs" to the stakeholders.

Reputation is what the media write about us. Is that right?

Also, but not only. What the media (print, online, TV, radio) report about companies is also referred to as "published opinion." In other words, it reflects how media or journalists report about companies (frequency, topics, sentiment). This is also called "reputation in the media".

In contrast, there is "public opinion." It is what the general public thinks of a company. These impressions can be conveyed by media, but there are many other influences that shape corporate reputation, such as direct contact with products or employees, social media, advertising, customer service, word of mouth, etc.


Who is responsible for reputation in the company?

Reputation represents over 30% of a company's value. Due to this great importance, reputation should be anchored at board and management level.

In operational reputation management, all functions that are in dialog with external stakeholders are responsible. This includes corporate communications, marketing and branding, sales and distribution, human resources, investor relations, sustainability officers and others. The appointment of an internal or external reputation manager is recommended for the coordination and control of measures.

Can reputation be measured at all?

Yes, reputation can be measured in various ways. Depending on the stakeholder group, online surveys, personal interviews, media analyses or analyses of existing data sources are recommended. The key is to use a suitable measurement model. This is because, unlike other measurements (such as customer satisfaction, image, etc.), neutral criteria are used for reputation. They ensure that what counts is measured and not just what interests the companies.

We already measure our brand. What else should we measure reputation for?

Brand measurements usually focus on product-related criteria on usage and attitudes. Reputation measurement takes a broader view. Companies are not only assessed on their offering, but also on measures for environmental protection, sustainability, social commitment, employer attractiveness, financial performance or the CEO.

Furthermore, behavioral intentions are recorded (purchase intention, recommendation, the desire to work for your company, etc.) as well as the touchpoints used. With the help of statistical analyses, insights are created that allow stakeholder-oriented topic and touchpoint management - to strengthen the company's reputation.


Is zihlmannpartner a communications agency?

No. zihlmannpartner operates at the interface between research and consulting. We use market research methods, media data and special analysis procedures to provide our clients with detailed insights into stakeholder perceptions. We show the impact of activities, develop thematic and communication strategies and provide support in reputation management. The results of our work are always based on evidence.

Do you have any further questions? Write to us.

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