The world is one giant review agency.
Innovation has empowered people with internet-enabled devices to say anything about your business, and there is little you can do to stop that.
When I first started working in corporate communication, I was a “reputation gatekeeper”. No communication of any importance passed in or out of the organisation without first coming to me for vetting.
Added to that, many businesses preferred to practise a “decide and tell” approach, where they operated behind closed doors and occasionally emerged with a carefully crafted positive message to fuel their reputation.
Those approaches won’t cut it today.
With the growth of social media and other forms of digital communication, there’s no such thing as a reputation gatekeeper. Businesses are under constant scrutiny and information is flowing to and from every pore of the organisation.
The idea of the gatekeeper has truly been blown wide open. So, what description fits the role of today’s communication professional?
The best way we can serve our organisation is to embrace our new responsibility as a facilitator - the conductor of a reputation orchestra, if you will. Alongside managing an endlessly expanding array of communication channels, we must establish an environment where each section of the business understands the importance of reputation and their own roles as reputation ambassadors.
A business or organisation can’t control its reputation, which is made up of what other people think. But that reputation can be influenced – by how the business behaves, what it says about itself, and how it demonstrates its values each day.
Whatever their role, the people who make up your organisation now hold the keys to your reputation kingdom. Give them the tools and skills they need to tell their stories.
Far from being obsolete, communication experts have never been more essential. You're no longer a gatekeeper; you're an influencer, advocate and leader. Grab that conductor's baton and give it a good whirl.