“Understanding is the beginning of approving,” said Andre Gide, the French writer, moralist and humanist.
For the most part, the more we know about someone and the more familiar we feel, the more likely we are to have a favorable impression.
For example, the new neighbor who at first seems quiet or snobbish may turn into your closest friend.
The familiarity principle behind Gide’s quote is in fact true of corporations as well.
Our EVP John Gilfeather’s analysis of more than 1,000 corporate measurements has shown that in most cases people who are more familiar with a company rate the company more favorably than people who are less familiar with that company.
We also know from research that people who rate a company more favorably are more likely to buy stock, recommend the best and the brightest to work for the company and purchase the company’s products – all good things that demonstrate engagement.
Due to this simple principle of human behavior and the diversity of ways your markets get to know you, there continues to be a transformation in how corporate communicators can help manage reputation.
More and more emphasis is now on producing content meaningful to customers and distributing this content through multi-channel earned media.
This means conducting research for public release (a plug for one of our core competencies), utilizing spokespeople with a strong, trustworthy personal brand, leveraging customers who are vocal advocates for your brand, sharing knowledge and education with your market, and harnessing all the supporting communication and activities that will engage your market.
So for corporate communicators and marketers, the mandate is clear:
By allowing the public to know more about your company, your favorability ratings will improve and people will behave in ways that will help your company achieve its goals.
Simply stated, by raising awareness you will engage more people in a more favorable way.
PS: Andre Gide also said, “Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface. It’s their way of falling.” Well, they can’t all be gems!
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