Check out DummySpit which says everything that needs to be said about equating media coverage to reputation. This has always driven me mad when PR Week reports its reputation survey ie who’s been written about this week.
Such lists are as flawed as those ranking corporate leaders based on the opinions of other “leaders”. That approach is little more than top of mind recall based largely on media coverage or biased biographies.
Reputation itself is much more interesting – as Tom says in citing Dozier, it is affected by direct experiences, and is a personal cognitive judgement subject to change on the basis of new experiences or information from a variety of sources.
My local Mercedes dealer had a good reputation with me until the delivery driver left my car unlocked on my drive all afternoon – and my neighbour showed me where the guy had chipped the bumper on my car on the tow bar of her Volvo. The dealership has taken action to put this right without argument, but it has put a chip in my assessment of their reputation. It means I now don’t trust them so much – and even more important I’m less likely to recommend them to my contacts.
Little incident, big reputational repercussions.