Corporate reputation underpins perception and impacts the market value of organisations. According to a recent research report by AMO (a leading international strategic advisory network), in the financial year FY ’19, corporate reputations accounted for 35.3% of total capitalisation of the world’s top 15 stock market indices, representing $16.77 trillion in shareholder value. Companies with stronger corporate reputations are more likely to withstand stock market shockwaves.
Mahindra is a global, diversified Group operating in 22 industries with 250,000+ employees across 150 companies and 100 countries under a federated structure. Each of the operating companies enjoy substantial independence and are governed by their respective Boards. Our corporate brand Mahindra and what it stands for, is the uniting factor in this diverse federation. Hence, in our case, the importance of building and sustaining corporate reputation cannot be overstated. There are many building blocks to this.
1.Set a Corporate Purpose that’s rooted in Core Values
A company’s reputation is no longer defined merely by what it produces, but how it behaves and what it stands for. Our business endeavours are aligned to our corporate purpose, Rise. This is rooted in our core values which are immutable and have defined us since our birth in 1945. Our core values guide all our decisions and actions, and demarcate the boundaries beyond which we will not venture.
2.Live the Purpose and Values
Reputation is built and sustained basis action, not mere intent. Our core purpose Rise guides our businesses endeavours. For example, Mahindra Finance provides loans to the not-so-creditworthy, to fund their dreams. We have also ensured that our corporate purpose is an integral part of our employee recruitment, training and evaluation process.
3.Make Governance and Ethics, not just a purpose, but also a process
Governance goes beyond mere compliance. Governance is the framework of rules and practices by which the board of directors ensures accountability, fairness, and transparency in a company's relationship with all its stakeholders. To institutionalise Governance as a process, every point of decision-making needs to be tested for the following 3 Cs: Compliance, Competence, and Conflict of interest eradication. Further, we have institutionalised Governance as a Process through a rigorous implementation of the 3 Cs, a universally relevant Code of Conduct, and a Governance e-cockpit that ensures compliance with our policies and protocols, and which has further enhanced our journey from Compliance to Governance.
4 .Communicate often and effectively
The above enumerated building blocks would be underleveraged without an effective Communication strategy. There are four simple principles that are recommended:
Reputation, like trust, takes years – even decades – to build, but can be dented in a day. It is an organisation’s most precious asset. Using all the above mechanisms and pointers should help in the journey to build and sustain corporate reputation.
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ARTICLE BY :
Ruzbeh is the President (Group Communications & Ethics) and the Chief Brand Officer at the Mahindra Group. He leads the Corporate Brand, Communications, PR, Ethics, Racing and Culture functions of the Mahindra Group. Marketing, Branding and Ethics are his key topics of interest.