A look at what’s influencing the reputations of businesses, brands and people around the world.

Biggest reputation risks to UK businesses in 2018

One in three businesses say that negative content is damaging their business. Another third is worried about the impact this type of material will have in the future. That is according to Igniyte’s latest research, the Reputation Report 2018, conducted with OnePoll to examine the scale of the problem in the UK.

UK businesses are seeing increasing threats from online activity, including historic and inaccurate press coverage and poor or unfounded reviews. Negative social media posts and material created and shared maliciously is having a negative impact too.

Businesses are losing hundreds of thousands of pounds in revenue, as well as suffering lasting damage to their online reputations.

Igniyte’s Simon Wadsworth says: “As our research clearly shows, doing nothing will put reputations at risk. But being aware of the dangers – and planning ahead to mitigate them – will help brands build robustness and resilience in 2018 and beyond.”


KFC’s cluck up – and incredible recovery

In an almost disastrous few weeks for the popular chicken chain, KFC ran out of chicken and had to close hundreds of its stores. After switching suppliers to DHL, the company experienced a few “teething problems” with delivery.

Fans of the popular chain were left disappointed. But KFC managed to turn what could have been a corporate reputation disaster into a piece of perfectly pitched crisis management.


What does your company’s reputation smell like? 

None of us wants to visit a smelly bathroom, but did you know how they’re also damaging your reputation?

A new report by Initial Washroom Hygiene on experiences, perceptions and implications of smell for businesses states that 80% of people surveyed say that an unpleasant smell in the washroom leaves them with a negative perception of a business. While 67% say that an unpleasant smell in a public washroom would make them less likely to shop there.

Speaking in their study, Washroom Malodour: Experiences Perceptions and Implications for Businesses, conducted in the UK, France, Italy, Australia and Malaysia,  the company found eye-opening results. More than 6 in 10 would be put off a business if it has unpleasant smelling bathrooms. A quarter of us are embarrassed about a client or visitor using our bathrooms because of the smell.

Igniyte’s Simon Wadsworth says: “First impressions matter, from when people search for you online to visiting your business and using the facilities. Everything in your business, from the washrooms to your attitude can – and will – be judged by customers or clients. With all aspects of your business having the potential to affect your reputation, make sure you’re proud of everything!”


Consequences for Kobe Steel’s CEO 

Kobe Steel Ltd’s CEO is stepping down on 1 April, taking responsibility for a quality scandal that has shaken Japan’s reputation for high-end manufacturing.

The company – which supplies makers of cars, planes and nuclear plants – admitted to falsifying its quality results to hundreds of customers, prompting an investigation by the US Justice Department. It also admitted its data fraud has been going on for 50 years.

Although its CEO is stepping down, the company is now dealing with this serious blow to its reputation.  Kobe Steel also announced the resignation of Executive Vice President Akira Kaneko and temporary pay cuts for up to 80 percent of all internal directors and executive officers.

The case is one of the country’s biggest industrial scandals, which set off revelations by other Japanese heavyweights including Mitsubishi Materials Corp, Ube industries and Toray Industries, which have admitted fabricating product data. This is really hitting the country’s reputation for manufacturing excellence.

Doubts remain over its corporate culture and possible future fines. With its reputation in tatters, it is still unclear if the company can bounce back.


Snapchat updates – and loses fans 


Recently, Snapchat made some big design changes that caused a commotion among its users. This controversial update made the app harder to navigate with a less user-friendly interface. Facing tough competition from Instagram stories, Snapchat is now losing its edge in a highly cutthroat sector. Tellingly, the app fell to a 1.8 rating on the app store, with a change.org petition even set up to complain about the redesign.

Less than 3 weeks after this introduction, things got even worse for the company. Kylie Jenner, 2015’s most viewed snapchat user and all-around social media leader, tweeted her grievances with the new format.

Reaching her 24.5 million Twitter followers, she wrote “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.”

Simple? Yes. Detrimental? Absolutely. Almost immediately after Jenner’s tweet, Snapchat’s stock price dropped 6.1% – equivalent to a $1.3 billion drop in market value. Snapchat is learning the hard way how word-of-mouth advertising on social media can really impact the reputation – and value – of a business. And is promising changes after listening to users.

Igniyte’s Roz Sheldon says: “The power of word-of-mouth can be a double-edged sword for your reputation. People can spread both the good and the bad. With the celebrity element extending its reach, the tweet has amassed over 376,000 likes and 76,000 retweets. Social media makes it easier for users to voice opinions and the damage done by this can be almost instantaneous. Be careful to keep your users on side and listen to them. As Snapchat learnt – bad reviews can destructive.”


This Reputation Round Up is brought to you by Igniyte, the reputation experts. Igniyte is working with businesses, brands and individuals around the world to build, repair and maintain positive reputations.


Reputation Roundup - Igniyte
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Reputation Roundup - Igniyte
Reputation Roundup: KFC, Snapchat, Kobe Steel, reputation risks facing UK businesses in 2018. And... do you know what your company reputation smells like?
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