Building Reputational Capital: Strategies for Integrity and Fair Play That Improve the Bottom Line

Building Reputational Capital: Strategies for Integrity and Fair Play That Improve the Bottom Line

Building Reputational Capital: Strategies for Integrity and Fair Play That Improve the Bottom Line

Building Reputational Capital: Strategies for Integrity and Fair Play That Improve the Bottom Line


In the aftermath of scandals such as those at Enron and WorldCom, there is a growing suspicion of the corporate world. For this reason it is more important than ever for firms to maintain a good reputation. In Building Reputational Capital, Kevin T. Jackson offers a practical guide to taking the high road--the only path that leads to lasting success. Based on extensive research and real-world experience, Building Reputational Capital reveals basic principles of integrity and fairness with which firms can build an enduring reputation. More than image, a firm's reputation is a form of capital often neglected in the boardroom and overlooked in conventional analyses of financial statements. Speaking directly to the work experience of real people in practical business settings, Jackson couples each principle with straightforward actions that drive management systems, and he provides tested strategies--from downsizing techniques to e-commerce tips--that cultivate the hidden power of a good reputation. He outlines the advantages of a superior reputation (simply put, people want to work for, invest in, and do business with a company or person with integrity), describes the vital role the firm's leader must play, offers ways to build and protect your reputation on the Internet (from defusing Internet rumors to creating an online community), and shows how to rescue your reputation once disaster hits. Perhaps most important, he shows how to strike the right balance of virtues like authenticity, honesty, responsibility, and stewardship of the environment, employees, and the economy. Highlighted with real-life success stories--from giants like Hewlett-Packard to small firms like Thanksgiving Coffee Company (which invests part of its revenues in the Central American villages in which its beans are grown), Building Reputational Capital offers a simple but effective guide for executives, managers, entrepreneurs, legal professionals, and corporate consultants.


The value of a business increasingly lurks not in physical and financial assets that are on the balance sheet, but in intangibles.

The Economist, June 12, 1999

The most valuable asset, the most powerful force behind your business is right in front of you every day. Yet for most it lies unnoticed, the most neglected of all assets. I call this intangible, yet very real asset reputational capital. This book is about increasing your firm's supply of it so it can be leveraged for strategic advantage and long-term financial performance. When properly harnessed, reputational capital has the potential to unleash extraordinary benefits for your firm's bottom line.

Perhaps you're thinking: “If reputational capital is such a valuable asset, why haven't more companies realized this and done a better job of cultivating it? How can so many people have been so oblivious to the economics of character and credibility for so long?” I believe the answer is simple: Many people in business operate under a now defunct premise that “business is business” and that corporations can't afford to be moral.

The Fable of Flatland

Mathematician Edwin Abbott creates an imaginary world, Flatland, as a metaphor for one-, two-, and three-dimensional space and beyond. Abbott's “Linelanders” are creatures trapped in a one-dimensional world called Lineland, comprised of only lines. “Flatlanders” inhabit Flatland, a two-dimensional world. I find this notion a particularly apt way of grasping the different mindsets with which people approach the world of business.

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