Are PR pros right for corporate reputation management?

Large companies rarely have just one person who oversees reputation management. Here is an argument for why that shouldn’t be the case.

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There’s a big problem with reputation management in corporate America.

In most major corporations, no one person is responsible for managing a company’s reputation risk. Many corporate departments including public relations, marketing, brand management and risk management share some level of responsibility for reputation management.

PR typically takes the lead responsibility. Therein lies another problem. Often, no one person within PR has full responsibility for corporate reputation management. Responsibility and authority is spread across multiple people within PR.

The problem with shared responsibility

The view that everyone is responsible for corporate reputation management may in reality mean no one is. No one is accountable; no one has the authority to identify reputation risks and instigate change.

That may pose a dangerous situation, as a reputation developed carefully over the years may crumble overnight under the onslaught of social media attacks. Online criticism can undermine the reputations of even the largest organizations.

That’s why most larger corporations and nonprofit organizations would benefit by installing a chief reputation officer to oversee reputational risk throughout the organization—offline and online.

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