A section of the NYSE magazine's CEO Report 2007 addresses how CEOs monitor their companies' reputations. Topping the list is something called "informal discussions with relevant parties". I would like to think that means regular dialogue with customers, communities and other stakeholders . . . Of course, it could also be referring simply to conversations with peers at the country club, or quarterly analyst conference calls. A little vague don't you agree?
Of equal interest, though, is that discussions with, or surveys of, employees ranks second as a CEO's method of monitoring corporate reputation, especially in companies with market caps of $3 billion+. Frankly, I find it surprising that CEOs see employees in that way. But if it's true, then the finding speaks to the importance of structured, robust, dialogue-based internal communication programs, and the readiness of CEOs to sanction such programs if they help orient the company's external reputation-building.
Monitoring the Internet ranks almost as high as analyzing media coverage as a reputation bell weather especially for companies with market caps under $1 billion (63% of this group favor analyzing media coverage with 59% monitoring the Internet .) In fact, as Leslie Gaines-Ross points out "one-third of CEOs (31 percent) . . . report that they spend more time on media relations compared to three years ago. In contrast, they spend only 22 percent more time on customer relations". I guess all those nasty front pages stories about C-suite malfeasance and boardroom espionage are keeping international business media relevant!