By Richard Stone

Here at Stone Junction Towers, we are having a debate about how long it takes to lose weight – prompted by my own quest to shed a few pounds. Funnily enough, like most things, this has made me think about the reputation of engineering companies and how it is affected by technical PRactivity intended to improve reputation. 

One of my colleague has a personal trainer who believes that if you increase your calorie intake by, say, 500 calories a day and gain a stone over a year, you would then need to decrease your calorie intake by the same amount (back to the ‘normal’ level) over the same period to lose that amount. If you want to lose more, you would need to decrease it further or burn more calories by exercising. 

Bear with me, there’s an analogy here to do with corporate reputation. 

If you decrease the efforts you make to improve your corporate reputation (and these are entirely distinct from your marketing and sales efforts remember) by a given amount every year, how long will it take to restore your reputation afterwards? Well, one might argue that it follows the same pattern as weight loss, simply restore your efforts and, after time, your reputation will be restored. 

Well, no, not quite. That would only be true if there were a limited amount of factors effecting your reputation. With weight gain, there are only two factors; what you eat and how active you are. With reputation, there is not only your proactive work but also the work done by your competitors, the word of mouth spread by your customers, unusual ‘spike’ events such as a crisis or one-off positive action, the overarching reputation of your industry and so on. 

So, you may well find that it takes longer to restore your company’s reputation than it does to lose weight. Don’t forget that when you are considering cutting back on reputation focussed work.  

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