reputation management

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and Africa Travel Association (ATA) Host First US-Africa Tourism & Sports Seminar in New York

The seminar theme - Making Africa the World’s Next Premiere Travel Destination - will provide more than 200 leaders from the public and private sectors an inside look into the vast array of business exploration and investment opportunities in the travel and tourism industries in Africa.

Africa is poised to increase its world market share in tourism and this seminar will help lay the groundwork placing Africa top-of-mind among American tourists and investors.

Currently sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 1.3% of the world market share in the travel and tourism industry. In 2007, the sector generated close to $90 billion in economic activity and is expected to exceed $185 billion within the next 7 years for the region, demonstrating positive growth and investment opportunities.

Sam Taylor, founder of Reputation Dynamics and Associate Partner of Corporate Donor Travel for Elevate Destinations, will be participating in a workshop and address the growth of Experiential Tourism in the context of alignment with economic, social and environmental responsibility trends. Experiential Tourism, encompassing eco-, nature, heritage, community and adventure tourism, is expected to grow three times faster than the tourism industry as a whole. In fact, beginning in the 1990s, this sector has grown 20-to-34% per year and could grow to 25% of the world’s travel market within six years, taking the value of the sector to $473.6 billion a year.

Event topics include sports and tourism, infrastructure development, marketing Africa, traveler perception, travel industry-related investment opportunities, airline and hotel development, as well as travel trends in Africa.

CCA, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) membership organization of nearly 200 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. The organization is dedicated to bringing together potential business partners and to showcase business opportunities on the continent. For more information on CCA, seminar and agenda visit
The seminar will be held February 27-28, 2008 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, immediately preceding The New York Times Travel Show 2008.
Statistical Reference: World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Reputation Dynamics Joins United Nations Global Compact

Reputation Dynamics today announced that it has signed the United Nations Global Compact, reinforcing the company’s commitment to help companies advance their corporate social responsibility agendas among key stakeholders (employees, customers, board members, investors and suppliers).

Established in 2000, the Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative, brings together nearly 3,700 companies from more than 120 countries to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environmental sustainability and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship and integrate these ten principles in business strategies and operations around the world so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization and sustainable development.

Joining the Global Compact is an extension to Reputation Dynamics corporate responsibility advisory services and current initiatives such as Conscious Commerce - an innovative business model and methodology to help companies properly align and market stakeholder-driven programs - and it’s strategic alliance with Elevate Destinations providing corporations with opportunities to visit destinations where they have business and/or philanthropic interests (

Additionally, Reputation Dynamics engages in education and advocacy by providing perspectives to help companies align ‘Doing Good in Society’ with competitive business edge via this popular blog.

"We are proud to be supporting the organization’s 10 principles and its efforts to advance corporate citizenship and challenge business to take a responsible leadership position," said Samantha Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics. “This is well-aligned with our core values and corporate vision."

More information about the Compact can be found at

The Tide Has Turned: 2008 Conscious Commerce Predictions by Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics

Social Purpose Alignment is a Strategic Imperative for Making a Profit

In 2007, the business case for corporate responsibility (CR) was accepted in the business community,” according to Sam Taylor.

Key Corporate Responsibility Milestones in 2007:

  • Companies ‘License to Operate’ obligations were forced to change due to world events, regulatory issues, compliance and environmental concerns
  • Companies acknowledge that initiatives will have a major impact on business strategies over the next few years
  • Growth of more evidenced-based research tracking the value and impact from multiple functions including brand, stakeholder relations, customer behaviors and reputation
  • Increasing number of newly created executive positions
  • Growth of dedicated resources and services including sustainability development firms, environmental, news services, academics and influencers’
  • A plethora of social entrepreneurs, for and not-for-profit/NGO companies have provided concrete evidence that while striving to make a profit, they can make a difference
  • Growth of multiple investment vehicles such as alternative energy mutual funds
  • Philanthropic contributions polled among 136 large corporations by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy’s ‘Giving in Numbers’ research found that the median dollar value of contributions increased from $29.5 million in 2005 to $32.6 million in 2006
  • Cause-related marketing is a $1.44 billion business

Predictions for 2008:

Step up to the New Rules of Reputation Management: Social innovation, sustainable development, trust and transparency are the new currency for tomorrow’s companies doing business.

Evaluate and Measure Program Impact: Assess current initiatives, stakeholder relationships and impact in the community. Use this platform to design and implement sustainable programs aligned with business objectives, as well as determine benchmarks for results measurement.

Employee and Customers Want Businesses to Invest in Communities they Touch: While health, safety, price and quality are top-of-mind for conscious consumers, they want companies to meet their personal goals and positively impact society.

Philanthropy is an Integral Part of Doing Business: CEOs and their companies need to continue to invest strongly in their communities, responding to the growing expectations of employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Move the Needle on Social Issues: There are plenty of causes out there that need support both at home and in emerging markets. Some critical causes in need include HIV/Aids, TB and malaria, poverty, infant mortality, wildlife preservation and protecting indigenous peoples.

Unleash the Power of NGOs for Greater Good: Align more aggressively with non-profit social actors – NGOs, (UN Agencies, development agencies). Companies have a timely opportunity to collaborate with some competent NGOs who are already in the trenches addressing key causes.

Stakeholder Liaisons: Harness the power of key stakeholders and communicate with them regularly on and offline. Solicit the knowledge and opinions of customers and employees. It is a powerful tool to track and influence patterns of behavior, and, don’t forget tomorrow’s leaders – the younger generation and their social networking habits.

Sustainable Business Growing in Importance and so is the Link to Reputation – Do You Know Yours?

The 'Call to Action' messages and marketplace research continues to echo in the growing corporate responsibility community – corporate – academia – non-profit - NGOs……..

At a Social Enterprise Conference at Columbia Business School last Friday, a headline message presented at a keynote address by Patrick Cescau - President Group Chief Executive of Unilever - following a special tribute to Anita Roddick of The Body Shop:

“Corporations of the future will not survive unless they adopt and support social innovation and sustainable development objectives”

An advocate of ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’ and Recipient of the 2007 Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics, Unilever has demonstrated commitment to its social and environmental sustainability initiatives via its alliances with The Rain Forest Alliance and World Food Programme –

That same week, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) announced the results of a survey in conjunction with their annual conference in San Francisco where more than 330 participants were polled out of 1350 leaders from 50 countries in attendance - Key highlights included:

  • 82 percent – private sector executives, NGOs and policymakers around the world say they will make corporate social responsibility a core business strategy in the next five years
  • 47 percent said a core reason for focusing on sustainable business is consumer behavior and concerns about reputation
  • 31 percent said energy efficiency and renewable energy are at the heart of their corporate climate change effort
  • 69 percent said China is the country that will most influence the evolution of corporate responsibility in the next five years

Corporate responsibility is climbing higher and higher on the business and public agenda…..

So, what is the fundamental next step to properly create the CR road map?

We, at Reputation Dynamics, suggest a brand reputation analysis and stakeholder evaluation to provide the strategic foundation for the development of a sustainable, long-term program.

Unleashing the Power of NGOs for Greater Good

As companies continue to respond to the power of private citizens and their quest to improve society, they are also being forced to re-evaluate their partnerships and accountability of their contributions to the community.

Never has there been a greater time to align more aggressively with non-profit social actors – NGOs (UN Agencies, development agencies and civil society organizations).

The business focus of NGOs includes critical initiatives such as healthcare, disease, energy efficiency, agriculture, environmental quality protection, children’s’ poverty, civil rights and so on. However, some NGOs are considered to be disorganized, bureaucratic and have fragmented communications.

It’s not all about philanthropy...............

Collaborating and aligning with these businesses’ are important avenues for giving, can both benefit and mobilize the public at large in advancing good causes.

Companies have a timely opportunity to review and collaborate with some competent NGOs thanks to The United Nations Global Compact, Dalberg Global Development Advisors and the Financial Times.

The companies aligned to identify and analyze a group of non-profit social actors who have proven competence in partnering with companies. Dalberg received 865 valid partnership ratings from 445 companies in response to a survey distributed to more than 20,000 companies worldwide about their partnership experiences - rated on adaptability, execution, and communication. Key highlights of the findings:

  • 73% concluded that corporate partnerships would be important for their own company over the next 3 years
  • The majority cited successful implementation of effective and relevant CSR programs as the main reason for partnering with NGOs
  • Core business and advocacy partnerships are perceived to have higher impact than those focused on philanthropy

The three most pursued areas of partnership were in Education, Environmental Protection and Communications, while Microfinance received high interest.

Lions Club International, Environmental Defense, WRI and TechnoServe ranked among the top 34 global organizations listed. Additionally, 53 local/regional NGOs emerged as leaders.

Proper collaboration and alignment with the NGO community as a key component of a company's responsibility initiatives, represents considerable advantages and benefits for both parties. These include increasing the profits of their businesses and donor acquisition, and for NGOs to take advantage of corporate resources, expand these markets, make contributors' money go further and.......enable greater community impact.

For more information about this study –
‘Business guide to partnering with NGOs and the United Nations’

How ‘Doing Good in Society’ Increases Competitive Business Edge - Audio Presentation

Companies ‘license to operate’ obligations have changed dramatically due to world events and the globalization of our economy.

The headlines are dominated with news about everyone trying to be green, product quality and safety, corporate reputations and performance. With recent books such as ‘Giving’ by Bill Clinton, and ‘The Triple Bottom Line', co-authored by Andrew Savitz and Karl Weber corporations key stakeholders’ are more educated than ever about the contributions and impact of corporations on society, economy and the environment.

Companies are now expected to be good corporate citizens not only by their shareholders and government regulators, but by their customers.

However, doubt still lingers in the business and financial community about justifying ‘Doing Good in Society’ and the point of sustainability. The fundamental challenge for them is whether it distracts from core business focus areas, provides long term growth and returns to investors.

The tide is turning for the naysayers.........

A recent national survey conducted by Grant Thornton among 500 business executives uncovered that 77 percent said they expected corporate responsibility initiatives to have a major impact on their business strategies over the next several years. Furthermore, the three greatest benefits of enacting CSR are: improves public opinion and customer relations, as well as attracts/retains talent. For survey results, go to - Corporate responsibility becoming integral to business strategy.

We invite you to listen to our audio presentation that provides a perspective on how and why corporate social responsibility (CSR), is becoming an increasingly critical component of reputation management and competitive business edge.

The CRO Conference Addressing 'Operationalization' of Sustainability on September 12

The CRO has a stellar line up of speakers and timely topics at a one-day fall conference to be held at the Union League Club in Chicago tomorrow.

Topics will cover stakeholder engagement, supply chain, and alignment of CSR with the bottom line. Also, they will address two major trends facing corporate social responsibility officers, in the growing $32 billion CR industry; the expansion from merely defense in the face of regulatory challenges to offensive functions, or making sustainability efforts operational.

Featuring keynote speaker Murray Martin, CEO of Pitney Bowes, the conference will also include a special multi-level company session with a board member, marketing communications expert and manufacturing executive from a global corporation discussing their global sustainability efforts—from board room to execution.

A panel featuring Susan Graff, Principal of ERS along with the CEOs of Baxter Healthcare and Interface Group will share learning’s about setting and surpassing sustainable practice benchmarks.

The CRO is a membership media platform for corporate practitioners, professional service providers and non-profit influencers' in corporate responsibility. Example members include IBM, Avon, Starbucks, Intel, Pepsi, and Harvard.

For more information -


A recent Ad Age article (Blame CMO Turnover on Metrics Mania) states that CMOs are facing ‘Death by Data’ due an extreme focus on metrics getting in the way of creativity and innovation which is required to maintain competitive edge.

The headlines continue to be dominated with news, ad nauseum, about abrupt CMO departures, shortening tenures, turnovers galore and now re-defining the CMO role altogether.

A study conducted by the CMO Council, confirms a perception versus reality gap exists between the expectations that CEOs have of CMOs and actual performance.

While the good news is that CEOs still consider marketing to be a critical part of corporate strategy, two-thirds of CEOs say their top marketers don’t provide enough evidence about true performance and ROI.

Hmmm…did the CMO ever receive clarity about ‘true performance’ goals and ROI?

Today’s CMOs have a lot on their plate in our low trust environment.

Aside from presenting the numbers, they may be handling questionable ethics and business operations, brand reputation, keeping up with ‘Word-of-Mouth’ marketing and social networking, online commerce, maintaining a competitive edge, producing the next product and so on - all under the direction of a CEO who might be expecting too much and would rather keep the door closed.

Perhaps it is time for the CEO and the board to re-define their views and expectations of the CMO - fix the CMOs bruised Achilles heel.

With the Apple’s of this world leading the path of innovation, isn’t their enough to focus on and stay ahead?

After all, isn’t the CMO fundamental objective to market and sell more products/services? A few suggestions to help our CEOs and CMOs:

Functional Organization: Boards should stop creating CMO positions for the wrong reasons such as having them fix a fledging marketing organization or be a scapegoat for the reputation impaired. A Chief Ethics/Compliance Officer could be appropriate for fixing these issues and a good bridge for the CEO and CMO.

Open the Corner Office Door: Establish a better and regular dialogue between the CEO and CMO about marketing objectives, performance expectations and ROI tracking.
Focus: The customer is still king. As President and Founder of The CMO Club, Pete Krainik, recently commented, 'overcome the fact that in most companies the marketing group is not close enough to the product/service, nor close enough to the customer.' Know the product well, poll and take customer opinions seriously.
Social Responsibility: More than two-thirds of Americans say they consider a company’s business practices when deciding what to buy, according to a 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Study, and want their employers to support a social cause. Embrace the firm’s social and environmental purpose activities and integrate them holistically with business and marketing practices - top to bottom.
Stakeholder Liaisons: With customers and employees keeping track of their favorite companies and products, be sure to consistently communicate and demonstrate the value proposition.

CMOs live long and prosper.

It’s not all about the PR – CRO Conference

Kudos to Jay Whitehead and The CRO team for rallying up the diverse panelists, attendees and topics at last Thursday’s corporate responsibility conference. No wonder Jay’s impressive moderation stamina is attributed to running marathons. Focus is the name of the game, after all.

Notable company CSR initiatives and discussion topics included reducing water, waste and energy consumption, philanthropic and community support, health and safety, labor practices and Sarbanes Oxley compliance.

‘Slay False Gods’ could not have been a more appropriate term stated by Douglas Baker, CEO & Chairman of Ecolab. The major takeaways of the day were all about stepping out from under the veil, getting real about the issues and sustainability.

It goes without saying that CEO’s of companies need to make profit and justifying the business reasons for CSR still remains a challenge for some. CSR should be considered a long-term solution, rather than a short term gain – still the current mindset. However, companies are making major strides towards changes in business operations and transparency - and rightly view this as an ongoing ‘improvement’ process.

Following is some ‘food for thought’, as companies continue to evolve in this new management paradigm:

Call for greater leadership: CSR programs need to be endorsed at the top, as a key part of the corporate agenda, and then infused throughout the organization - business, marketing and communications. How else can we rally the troops?

Stakeholder liaisons: Harness the power of key stakeholders and communicate with them regularly. Solicit the knowledge and opinions of customers. It is also a powerful tool to track and influence patterns of behaviour.

Sustainability: Adopt business practices and create programs that are for the long term. To coin the old phrase – ‘Rome was not built overnight.’

Company culture and values: Conduct a cultural assessment of employees and poll them about social causes of most concern to them. Then, include them in initiatives as a motivational incentive. Several companies have demonstrated improved employee performance and satisfaction.

The PR machine: Stakeholders want the facts and PR should be engaged at the right stage of CSR program evolution. Also, ensure authentic positioning, messaging and proof points. It is a vital component of risk mitigation and will enhance recognition and acknowledgement for a company really 'Doing Good in Society.'

Navigating the 'CSR Buzz' for Reputation Advantage

Advancing society's interests is influencing investment decisions globally due to the increasing power of consumers and employees advocating for their favorite brands to be more transparent and accountable for their business operations.

Against the backdrop of our lowest trust environment ever, caused by a polarized political climate, disturbing world events, untrustworthy social and business practices, companies are being further impacted in an already challenging operating environment - creating a 'show and prove it' to me marketplace among key stakeholders.

In fact, according to research conducted by Gallup International, 62% of people around the world do not trust large national or global companies to operate in society's interest.

As a result, CEO's and their management teams are being increasingly bombarded with multiple issues that need to be addressed such as compliance, governance, environmental responsibility, diversity, responsibility-driven marketing, as well as accountability for their charitable contributions. All in conjunction with providing healthier returns for investors.

With e-marketing and 'Word-of-Mouth' marketing further driving stakeholder empowerment and demand for greater transparency, companies need to engage with their social purpose as both a necessity and business opportunity.

'Conscious Commerce,' now a $31.7 billion services market, is the evolution of a management paradigm for CEO's and their management teams to help safeguard a company's reputation and business operations. Also, it is a vital extension to the corporate agenda.

Early adopters such as Patagonia and Microsoft, who created and implemented sustaining programs, have enjoyed positive results and well deserved acknowledgement. While other companies have been quick to postpone costs and and/or are flocking to the cause with fragmented approaches that can lead to consequences down the road.

From the outset, it is critical to identify and prioritize social issues that matter the most to stakeholders. Then, properly align them with a company's reputation management and performance.

Companies that implement sustaining, long-term programs will mitigate reputation risk and harm to its business, people and the environment. Also, they will win back stakeholder trust and loyalty, boost performance and competitive edge.