How to Lead in a Reputation Economy

Man with clipboard standing against brick wall and smiling confidently

We're in a Reputation Economy – a marketplace where stakeholder support is based more on perceptions of a company than perceptions of a product or service. (Read: Who you are matters more than what you produce.) This, in turn, has catapulted business ethics to center stage.

From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, forward-looking organizations seek leaders who share a values-based vision of responsibility and greater good. Success in 21st-century organizations requires leaders who can develop an ethical corporate culture that operates in a socially responsible manner.

How to “do good” while growing your company.

Below are 10 opportunities ethical leaders should master from the Reputation Institute:

  1. Link reputation initiatives to commercial relevance
  2. Deliver visible return on investment for reputation programs
  3. Build strategies to achieve competitive advantage
  4. Build and manage reputation across multiple stakeholders and global markets
  5. Map the business case for reputation management
  6. Adopt measurement models that provide greater accountability, rigor, and effectiveness
  7. Secure internal and external alignment that delivers on strategy
  8. Coordinate internal and external partners across activation channels
  9. Secure license to operate with influencers globally
  10. Establish internal reputation governance structures

How Spring Arbor University’s faith-based online MBA program can help.

Spring Arbor University’s Gainey School of Business offers an ethics-centered education. Our online MBA program integrates rigorous business curriculum with Christian principles. This fully accredited program does more than simply edify the rights and wrongs of business; instructors prepare students to navigate, solve and successfully lead through the inevitable ethical dilemmas that arise throughout every organization.

Going a step further than the current “doing good, doing well” business philosophy, our online MBA program is firmly rooted in “being good.” Seamlessly integrated into every course, every step of the program, are faith-based principles that prepare students to be ethical and socially responsible leaders throughout their careers and within their communities.

Three examples of purpose-driven organizations:

These purpose-driven organizations have built success around strong brand loyalty, certainly due in part to the fervent culture of corporate social responsibility.

Brothers and Founders Bert and John Jacobs told Business Insider that their unwavering positive outlook on life is what inspired Life Is Good — their $100 million company with the mission to spread the power of optimism, with the tagline, "Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. Life is good." One hundred percent of all funds raised from an ongoing nationwide series of Life is Good Festivals, as well as 100% of profits from a growing number of Life is Good products benefit the Life is Good Kids Foundation.

The Life is Good Kids Foundation partners with leading childcare organizations to positively impact the quality of care delivered to the most vulnerable children. To date, the Foundation has offered retreats and ongoing support to over 5,000 professionals – including teachers, social workers, counselors, child life specialists and other youth workers.

American Standard American Standard’s CEO, Jay Gould, quadrupled the earnings of the bankrupt sanitation company in just 20 months. How did he do it? By reaching out to places where there was no sanitation – a life and death issue. Collaborating with the Gates Foundation, his team launched Flush for Good, which promises that for every Champion brand toilet sold, a latrine donation will be made to combat disease in the developing world.

TOMS Shoes Sales of TOMS Shoes, Eyewear, Coffee and Bags drive giving through the TOMS One for One model. Every time a TOMS product is purchased, a person in need is helped. To date, more than 2 million children have been protected from hookworm with medication and TOMS Shoes provided by their Giving Partners. Today, the company is worth upwards of $700 million.