Nuts & Bolts - Research: Direct Marketing a Reputation
McKinsey points out that "credible third parties speaking for the company," such as community activists and bloggers, "can boost its reputation more effectively than its own PR or marketing department."
Developing a two-way dialog with open-minded, influential consumers and then addressing their needs earned one company that followed this rule a group of dedicated advocates who then influenced others and improved its reputation.
3. Finally, be proactive. "Such actions need not take place only in response to reputational concerns; at other times, they help build good will that may provide some degree of cover against future bad news."
McKinsey cites Toyota Motor and GE's "willingness to tackle climate change" as a reason that their reputations have held up better than those of other major automotive and financial services companies. Best Buy even garnered sales from the electronics recycling program the business started in 2008, as customers had to enter the store to drop off the recycling.
To read more about the research, go to www.mckinseyquarterly.com.