What Technology Can Boards Use to Monitor Reputation?

Nicholas J Price
5 min read
Have you ever gotten a bad impression in your mind and even though it proved to be unfounded, you just couldn't shake your opinion of it? Reputation and branding are vitally important to a company and its shareholders. Once a company gets a bad reputation, it's hard to change that perception, which is why reputation monitoring is vitally important.

What makes that even scarier is that a whole host of issues can cause reputational risk for corporations. Unhappy customers, non-compliance with laws or regulations, allegations of fraud or theft, data breaches and poor risk management are all issues that just hit the highlights of things that keep board directors up at night.

An Organization's Responsibility Towards Reputation Management

Reputational risk falls under the umbrella of enterprise risk management. Damage to a company's reputation can be serious and long-lasting. Under some circumstances, it can even cause worrisome legal troubles. These are all good reasons that boards should be proactive about reputational monitoring, and reputation monitoring technology is the answer.

The Board of Directors Is Guardian Over the Corporation's Reputation

The board of directors provides oversight over enterprise risk management. Reputational risk is omnipresent, and it stems from a wide array of sources. The board's role relative to reputational risk is to continually monitor and assess it and mitigate it to the extent that it's possible.

The fact that reputational risk covers many different relationships makes that task extremely challenging. Among the risks that boards oversee are risks between the company and clients, employees, the public, various levels of government, regulatory bodies and stakeholders.

Reputational Risk from the Vantage Point of Stakeholders

Kylie Wright-Ford, CEO of Reputation Institute in Boston, states, 'We're functioning in an era of elevated reputation risk.' Wright-Ford points to global trade tensions, environmental concerns, changes in human values and desires for enhanced connectivity as contributing factors to reputational risk. She adds that artificial intelligence, the internet of things, cyber-physical systems and the #MeToo movement have put businesses on trial in the court of public opinion.

Social Media Demands Reputational Monitoring

With over 4 billion people surfing the internet every day, social media poses grand risks to businesses' reputations. Every company's leadership, ethics, values and culture are subject to public scrutiny. To demonstrate the weight of social media, BrightLocal reports that 88% of consumers trust online customer reviews as much as recommendations from their peers. Also, 72% of consumers said that they trusted brands more after they read a positive customer review on social media or a review site. In another survey by SDL, 58% of consumers said that they typically shared their positive brand experiences on social media platforms. These statistics make it clear that all companies need to be on top of the social conversations about their brand to protect their reputations.

Monitoring Reputation with ESG Performance Tracking

Many of the issues that boards have to oversee in today's market are new issues. For example, shareholders are increasingly concerned with environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. ESG is an issue that's become important for many people, and it's an important issue in our society as well. Shareholders are becoming increasingly active in this area and, in some cases, they're sharing their views about it on their social media outlets.

As boards and managers make commitments related to ESG, they need to monitor their commitments and performance. Of course, focusing more on ESG means that the board must also focus on risks associated with ESG. The company's performance on ESG affects the organization's financial performance.

In a 2018 study by Forrester Consulting that was designed to evaluate the technology used for board governance, 79% of boards in North America pointed to ESG performance tracking as essential for acquiring talent and improving performance. The study surveyed directors and governance professionals in 11 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Forrester noted that 28% of the respondents said that having technology that provided them insight for their ESG goals would have a large impact on the board. The study also confirmed that corporate leaders believed that technology can support benchmarking and real-time tracking of ESG undertakings. In spite of these results, the Forrester study also reported that boards were only using technology to solve a third of their governance responsibilities.

Governance Cloud: Technology for Reputation Monitoring

If your board could access all the digital tools they needed to ensure compliance, monitor social media and ESG, and generally monitor and manage the company's reputational risk, is that something that would interest you? If your answer is yes, you need to become better acquainted with Diligent Boards, Governance Cloud and Governance Intel for online reputation monitoring.

Software solutions by Diligent Corporation provide your board and senior executives with secure and remote access to board portal technology and associated tools that help to manage enterprise risk management and support strong governance. The portal provides a secure platform where board directors, executives and committee members can store reports and share them securely with the appropriate parties, individually or in groups.

Diligent Boards, Governance Cloud and Governance Intel provide the right technology for reputation management. Diligent Boards is the main board portal and meeting management system. Governance Cloud offers a suite of software solutions to handle many basic governance activities, such as:
  • Succession Planning: a digital tool with access to over 125,000 profiles of board directors and executives.
  • Board Self-Assessment Tool: an online tool through which boards can customize annual board assessments, individual assessments or both.
  • D&O Questionnaires: an online system for completing required D&O questionnaires and getting proper approvals via electronic signatures.
  • Diligent Messenger: a secure messaging platform that's fully contained inside the Diligent Boards platform, eliminating worries over personal or business emails getting hacked.
  • Secure file-sharing and workflow: protects reports, board books and large files as they are being stored and with strong encryption controls as they're being transferred. This tool has a high level of security built right in to eliminate worries over using file-sharing apps intended for public use.
  • Governance Intel: personalized governance intelligence software with real-time updates for aggregated news and research so boards can identify market trends, sentiment scoring, risks and opportunities.
With Diligent Boards, Governance Cloud and Governance Intel, reputational risk no longer has to be scary or keep directors up at night. In fact, these tools provide the reputation monitoring technology for total reputation risk management. They represent the modern governance approach to reputation monitoring.