Reputation cannot be owned or bought. It must be earned. It is the currency with which you buy trust – the magical feeling that powers the final furlough in any business deal – especially in the current unpredictable economic climate. Reputation is fuelled through deeds. But does your audience truly know the good that you are doing? Are you sure your ideas and innovations are getting the audience they deserve? Are you getting the appropriate ROI on your reputation? Every other day I come across businesses that are diamonds in the rough. I feel amazed by the entrepreneurial spirit and vision of people around me. However, how many of them grow to be a Tata or Infosys or Apple?

While Reputation Management is becoming increasingly important for businesses around the globe, enterprises are also becoming cognizant of the power of Thought Leadership to sculpt reputation. In fact, both the terms show similar popularity graphs on Google Trends except for the fag end of 2012 when Reputation Management shows a surprising hike. In fact, this really shouldn't be a surprise considering the torrid economic waters most enterprises are treading through. There are three reasons why you should manage your reputation through Thought Leadership.

One: Thought Leadership can actively build your reputation.

There are two kinds of businesses. First, which aggressively build their reputation by setting an organization wide Thought Leadership agenda driven by top management, aligning their corporate objectives with their desired brand image and sharing their knowledge capital with the target audience. Second, which are satisfied to let public opinion shape on its own and respond, or rather react, when a crisis rears its head. Obviously, the first approach strengthens the enterprise by pre-empting unfair attacks on company reputation.

Two: Reputation is better managed through Thought Leadership than PR

Your reputation is your image. It is you, in others' thoughts and minds. Unless you drive the effort to continuously update and correct that image, it won't remain genuine. Thought leadership scores over PR in this respect because it aims to create relationships, and hence is great diet for great reputation. In contrast, PR only creates goodwill to aid selling. To do your reputation justice, you need to partner with someone who can chisel your value proposition, modify organizational objectives and establish your leadership through relevant programs and content.

Three: Reputation management doesn't just mean online reputation management

While the internet is a great tool to reach out to your audience, it alone cannot establish your desired reputation. Likewise, online criticism needn't be a huge concern if your offline activities speak for themselves and maintain public opinion in your favour. Great content can communicate your expertise. But it cannot stand alone without the underlying foundation of concrete initiatives and programs that highlight your knowledge capital. Thought leadership builds your reputation from inside out by directing organizational focus on the things that you do best and then multiplying its impact through the power of internet.

in a competitive and fast paced business environment, quite a few fall victim to brand-hijacking. With the clock ticking on unrelentingly, it becomes important to utilize the best approach to reach your entrepreneurial dream - Thought Leadership. With the right partner who can identify your strengths, sharpen your organizational focus and successfully market your 'thought content' using appropriate platforms and channels, you will be able to manage your reputation much more authentically and effectively than ever before. In your opinion, what is the best way to manage reputation?

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