Public relations: strategy in the construction of image and reputation of organizations

Image and reputation of organizations

By Rodrigo Freitas

People and organizations have always struggled vigorously to build a positive image before their equals and audiences. Having a good reputation is a dream that goes back many centuries.

Despite having been one of the most horrific persecutor of Jews between the years 1226 and 1270 (Middle Ages), the King Louis IX of France was seen with good eyes by his people – so much he was canonized. Back then, according to the Church precepts, the ruler forbade nepotism, duels, gambling, prostitution and blasphemy.

Between the years 551-479 b.C. the Chinese philosopher and teacher Confucius taught lessons open skies. His goal was shaping ‘good men’, that would help building an ideal country. The behavior of the philosopher resonates to this day, affecting his reputation, though. It is not coincidence that one of his expressions popularized and is still used nowadays. Who has never heard the phrase “an image is worth a thousand words”?

But how can the construction of an image be beneficial to a brand, product or organization? What are the strategies and tools that state a communication that impacts in businesses and, at the same time, protects the image and consequently the reputation?

Born in the beginning of the XX century, public relations had as one of its pioneers the journalist Ivy Lee. The journalist was a visionary professional that signed contract with the millionaire John D. Rockfeller Jr to improve his own image and the image of his companies. Public relations have changed completely the way companies position themselves before their audiences. Even though it exists for many years, in broad XXI century, the service is still strategic for the construction of image and the consolidation of a business reputation.

The constant relationship with communication outlets strengthens the image of a brand, product or company. Besides making the assisted and their initiatives known to opinion leaders that cover and spread information about the market, the continuous tract is essential, for it facilitates the dialogue between parties in moments of image crisis, allowing a more detailed verification of facts.

Besides, through spontaneous publications in mainstream media outlets (radio, TV, newspaper, magazines and internet) and in specialized media (trade), the assisted gains notoriety. According to professor and writer Philip Kotler, “we do not consume products, but the image we have of them”, that means, the appearances in means of mass communication make the assisted and their initiatives visible to their target audience, causing direct impact in their business. A good presence in media strengthens the image of an organization, turning it into a reference in its segment.

Escaping the traditional

With the advance of digital market and the rise of new medias, endorsed mostly by social networks, the preoccupation is doubled. New medias have changed completely the reception, the reach and the dissemination of content, impacting directly in the perception of organizations’ image and in the reputation of organizations.

In order to gain a more accurate picture, according the latest Digital in 2018 report, disclosed by the online services Hootsuite and We Are Social, currently over 4 billion people are connected to the internet, and circa 3.2 billion people (42% of the globe) use social networks. Still, according to the Alexa ranking, one of the most important access indicators in the world, in 2016 the Brazilian complaints website, Reclame Aqui (Complain Here), was the 18th most accessed Brazilian website. Nowadays, regardless of the field the company is acting, a sharp eye for the digital world is essential.

In this matter, besides performing the public relations traditional activity, with the elaboration of action plans and pitches, the disclosure of press releases, pitch, notes and articles suggestions to journalists, following up, etc, it is required the adoption of new techniques like a good relationship with digital influencers, propositions of activations within the online environment, the disclosure of digital press releases (with video, audio, photo galleries, links and complementary materials). If organizations do not want to lose space and get involved in image crises, that may consequently besmirch their reputations, brands and products, they must pay close attention to the moment we are living. It demands caution and strategy.

If you want to understand more about how the media relations impact on business results, please check this article.

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