Why is it that so many people talk about the effects of social media on reputation, but so few mention the more interesting models for measuring reputation? Instead, we argue over how to read the sentiment mood ring, or which media-oriented measurement tracks reputation. In most cases, I don't think we're measuring reputation at all. Instead, we're measuring media coverage.
Media analysis reports on published statements. In the recent past, it focused on media created by professionals, but even as it includes media created by everyone else, it's still mostly about reporting aggregate data based on coverage. The usual metrics—volume, sentiment, topics, and voices—reflect that media-centric view, which is now adapting to summarize consumer's opinions in online media. It's good data for some applications, but it's the shallow end of the pool for understanding reputation.
Wading into the deeper water, we find some companies that take a more nuanced view of reputation. These models start with survey research and are typically calibrated to focus on the relevant attributes for a specific company or industry.
- Reputation Institute: RepTrak
Measures 23 attributes of 7 dimensions: products/services, innovation, governance, workplace, citizenship, leadership and performance.
- Harris Interactive: Harris Reputation Quotient
Measures 20 attributes of 6 dimensions: emotional appeal, products & services, social responsibility, vision & leadership, workplace environment, and financial performance. Harris recently released its 2009 report (PDF).
- APCO: Reputation Insight (PDF)
Multi-factor models customized for each client.
- Millward Brown: BrandZ (more)
Evaluates the financial return attributable to the company's brands, based on an analysis of financial data and consumer research.
I know that these models can be incorporated into routine measurement programs, but I almost never hear about that. I don't hear about these models in the usual PR and social media measurement discussions, either. Why is that?
Is this stuff not accepted? Is it too advanced? Maybe too confidential? Or is it just above the social media paygrade? The audience in the room where I first learned about this was rather senior.
Hat tip to Leslie Gaines-Ross for pointing out some research I hadn't seen.