In the mood of the upcoming Christmas feasts, here are our tips of how to stay corporate fit during the season. As you know, during this time of the year most companies are quite busy with the execution of various sales campaigns or are rushing to close important deals right before New Year’s Eve. Christmas also means lots of parties, reunions and gatherings. However that urge for having a fresh start sometimes cost millions to the organizations as they tend to neglect their competitors and therefore easily become victims of lethal reputation attacks. While many attribute the cause for this as an excessive preoccupation during the holidays, much of the Black PR cases are due to the carelessness of managers to assess security threats and their actual frequency. CEOs also foolishly underestimate the objectives of negative campaigning and refuse to believe that someone will ever dare to affect their flawless corporate systems.

I don’t think is even worth mentioning it here how idiotic approach this is and to be honest many organizations deserve their own reputation misery. So instead of spending quality time with friends and families, many employees end up the year setting crisis teams and fighting bad publicity. Sounds like lots of fun, isn’t it?

What is the healthy diet?

First of all, I think it is very important for corporations to understand the power of a good reputation. Although it is not something that you can touch and hold in your hands, having a good name (personal or a brand) is the only thing that matters at the end of the day. It affects not only your annual financial reports, but also it gives you a competitive edge and a whole new meaning of your marketing strategies, internal relations and in general sales performance. Companies with strong reputation are more likely to recover from severe crises, than the ones with inconstant behavior and negative image.

Secondly, there is a common misunderstanding which I want to clarify. Usually when PRs talk about reputation, they tend to refer to it as good or bad one. The truth is that the reputation of an organization can be much more colorful as it can take many different shapes or sizes. Keep also in mind that the corporate image means different things for the different stakeholder groups, such as employees, suppliers, shareholders and the media. It is vitally important to keep the balance between them as you risk to put yourself in a very untrustworthy position.

The size always matters

There is no big or small reputation. It is all relative. Companies with big reputations are those with a greater popularity among the general public. This s the case with Body Shop. Everyone think of Body Shop as a company that is deeply concerned with the environment, fair trading and biologically clean products. This is something that nobody doubts or dare to counter.

Organizations with small reputations are those that fail to established any strong images in the minds of the audience. Usually those are start-ups or corporations with controversial past and lack of political protections. Even worse – firms with no individuality and international media presence.

The question here is what will happen when these two types of reputation collide. Obviously it will be much easier for a bigger organization to smash down the smaller one. It has wider network of connections, more money and better PR team. The smaller competitor won’t even noticed that they are being a victim of Black PR campaign or even if they do, nobody will believe them or even want to invest in an entity without any market future.

However if a start-up succeeds in the defamation of a bigger company, it will automatically position itself as better consumer alternative and even secure its own market place. This opportunity is especially seductive for the retail industry. The only difficult thing here is the creating of an effective Black PR strategy and a new marketing plan for after that.

So, take the tape measure and prepare for the upcoming festivals!