Insights info: 7 pillars for reputation management

Linsey • 7 minute read • 24/02/0202
Reputation management
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In a world where brand reputation can be completely ruined overnight, it’s essential to have a good overview of your brand or organisation’s reputation. Monitoring online reporting can give a more reliable picture with regard to this. After all, consumers many times like to share their opinions online, even when they’re not even asked for, via a questionnaire, for example. The opinions were therefore not influenced by a question that was asked. So, how can you monitor your online reputation? In this article, we’ll take you through the seven pillars of reputation management, as well as the trends for the upcoming year.

What is reputation management?

Reputation management is the structural monitoring of all reporting that influences how people view your product or brand, with the aim of taking action, and thus improving or protecting its reputation. Brand reputation nowadays is not only determined by a small number of stakeholders, but especially by a much larger group of fans, consumers, critics, influentials, politicians and bloggers.

In order to manage a reputation, you first need to know what you’re looking at exactly. This means that, as a communication professional for your brand or organisation, you need to collect data about what is being said about your brand, exert influence where necessary to adjust the reputation and then be able to optimise it all to strengthen your reputation.

“(Online) Reputation management is the process of making an inventory, influencing and optimising the public’s trust in an organisation via online & offline media.”

The RepTrak © model of the Reputation Institute provides a number of tools for bringing these insights into focus:

The 7 pillars of reputation management: RepTrak ©

The most commonly used method for measuring reputation is the Reputrak © method – or the 7 reputation pillars – from the Reputation Institute (Van Riel, C., 2014). The purpose of the Reputation Institute is to help organisations answer the following questions:

  • What is my reputation?
  • How is my reputation seen compared to others?
  • How can I improve my reputation?
  • Which reputation pillars have the greatest influence on / are the biggest influencers of my reputation?

The Reputation Institute model is based on the “7 dimensions of business reputation” on which an organisation is assessed. These pillars are derived from 4 emotional indicators: trust, appreciation, admiration and good feelings. The pillars measure which images are most important among the target groups with regard to various topics that have to do with the organisation itself. In addition to consumers, the opinions of important stakeholders are also included. The 7 dimensions on which an organisation is assessed:

OBI4wan reputatiepijlers social media monitoring 1. Products or services

This pillar is about the quality of products or services that an organisation provides. Along with this, we look at the price-quality ratio, whether what is being offered is convincing enough and whether it meets the consumers’ wishes..

2. Innovation

Is your organisation seen as an innovative, progressive organisation? Are you able to adapt quickly to market developments? An organisation that is many times pioneering with regard to innovative products or services will score high on this pillar.

How does reputation management work in reality?

Enough theory; time to investigate how this can be applied, in practice, for your organisation. In traditional reputation research, as with the Reputation Institute, the 7 pillars are measured by means of interviews or questionnaires, but you can also measure this through your media channels. Social media expressions are especially good for this because many (unsolicited) opinions are expressed on social media. Content from news sources is often more nuanced, but still helps you identify topics that currently play a role in society, and that may influence your reputation.

Media monitoring through the RepTrak © method can help your organisation gain insight into the visibility and importance of these 7 dimensions. If you monitor, on a structured basis, how (often) your organisation is associated with topics within a specific pillar, you can trace whether you’re performing well or not within this area.

Are your products or services being discussed positively or negatively by the target group? Are your initiatives in the field of CSR being recognised by the media? Is the financial performance of your organisation visible in the media at all? By looking at, among other things, the visibility of your organization on the 7 pillars, the sentiment of this reporting, as well as the reach and relevance of the source, you can identify where the most important opportunities and risks lie with regard to your reputation. These insights will help your organisation in making the right choices: what do you need to give attention to and what should you invest in?

In addition, media monitoring in the short term – on a daily or weekly basis – can be used to pick up early signs and warnings that may damage your reputation (crisis management) or to identify topics that have a positive influence on your reputation.

The most recent study by the Reputation Institute (2019) has shown that we once again seem to have less faith in organisations in general — 52% of consumers don’t give organisations the benefit of the doubt. These are consumers who have no specific preference and are therefore not brand-loyal. They don’t have a strong emotional relationship with any particular organisation and are many times referred to as ‘Fence Sitters’. The Governance and Citizenship pillars are especially important for getting these people more involved, since organisations, with regard to these people, score the lowest on these pillars. Want to strengthen your position on this pillar? Then change some ethical aspects, such as doing business fairly and being open and transparent.


As an organisation, it is therefore important to keep a close eye on which pillars are important and where your reputation is with regard to these specific pillars. Our OBI Insights team is busy, each and every day, measuring our customers’ reputations on social media. Their expertise helps to give an accurate picture of your brand or organisation’s reputation and gives you, as a communication professional, the opportunity to put these action-oriented insights into reputation management.

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Linsey Jepma
As Content & PR Coordinator, I am involved in the wonderful world of webcare, chatbots, reputation management and data insights on a daily basis. Writing really is my thing and I have an inexplicable passion for neuromarketing and behaviour. Do you want to exchange thoughts? Connect with me at LinkedIn.

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