Many people define reputation by media coverage or public profile. This definition is shallow, damaging, and misleading.
There are people with positive media coverage who, nonetheless, have a bad reputation in private circles. There are also many families with a minimal public profile but significant global reputations.
At Transmission Private we understand and measure reputation not in column inches but in the leverage it gives the family to achieve new things, whether that is in business, philanthropy, public or private life.
Reputation as magnetism
Reputation acts like a magnet: a good reputation attracts; a bad reputation repels. If an individual or family has a good reputation, people want to partner with them, work with them and invest with them. They attract new people, interesting opportunities, and business becomes almost effortless.
If an individual or family has a bad reputation, people avoid being seen with them, are reluctant to invest with them and go out of their way not to work with them. They find it difficult to access deals and doing business can be tough. At worse, governments, banks and other partners cut them off.
Reputation acts like a magnet: a good reputation attracts; a bad reputation repels.
Most families sit somewhere between these two poles: they neither repel nor attract. They have neutral reputations. But they lack the real leverage a truly good reputation gives them: the leverage 'upwards' to realise new business and personal opportunities and the leverage 'downwards' to safely weather bad news without it leaving a lasting negative impression.
A deeper understanding of reputation
Our research reveals stakeholders such as investors, banks, the public and others look at three basic elements when judging a person or family’s reputation.
- Value system. People are attracted to working with individuals and families who have a clear, heartfelt value system, often articulated as a mission or vision for the family and its businesses. They are attracted to those with a clear direction and momentum.
- Action and track record of success. This value system must also lead to action. People are attracted to individuals and families who have a track record of translating their value system into successful outcomes; perhaps a globally successful business or an impactful philanthropic endeavour.
- Social and financial capital. But these two things are not enough. People are attracted to those who also have the resources to continue to realise successful outcomes long term. Often these resources are not only financial but social in terms of relationships, talent and social standing.
Taken together, these are the three constituents of a good reputation, and our model for understanding reputation breaks down as:
Reputation = Values + Actions + Financial & Social Capital
Our reputation solutions focus on incrementing or communicating one, or all, of these elements. This provides the model for our work.