Counting the spoons: what really influences corporate reputation

Peter Buell Hirsch (Department of Communication Studies, Baruch College, New York, New York, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Publication date: 20 November 2017



The purpose of this paper is to examine and assess the importance of corporate reputation as a tool of business strategy. The topic has been the subject of significant discussion particularly with respect to reputation rankings and metrics. The author wanted to assess the evidence for the importance of reputation to a company’s success and whether there were related activities that might be of equal or greater value.


The approach was to review some of the more prominent reputation rankings and metrics and, anecdotally, to assess the impact of negative reputation impacts on market share and revenues. The author also tried to identify other corporate marketing strategies that might be of greater value than a focus on reputation alone.


What the author has determined was that there would always be a place for opinion surveys of reputation and the rankings that go with them, as well as certain outcomes-based metrics with a reputation component. However, the author believes that comprehensive influencer engagement programs have the greater potential for a positive impact on a company’s business success while, at the same time, supporting its reputation.

Research limitations/implications

The findings’ principal limitations are the subjective nature of the review and evaluation which are based on the author’s 30-year career in helping companies manage their reputation.

Practical implications

The practical implications of the paper are that companies should pursue a balanced reputation strategy, not solely restricted to seeking rankings and awards but equally, if not more, focused on creating the kinds of influencer engagement that are a richer and truer source of long-term reputation.

Social implications

The author believes that by focusing on the needs and interests of real influencers as opposed to abstract opinion survey panels, companies will do much more concrete work that creates social as well as business value.


While a great deal has been written about reputation and trust, the author believes that this is the first attempt to connect reputation with influencer engagement as a strategy.



Hirsch, P. (2017), "Counting the spoons: what really influences corporate reputation", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 54-58.

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