Business Reputations Can Be Assets, or Liabilities…

Michael D. Moberly – February 15, 2024 – Business Intangible Asset Strategy & Risk Mitigation – Founder, Business Intangible Asset Blog & kpstrat

The reputation of a business, its products, services, and operating culture are intangible (non-physical) assets.

A business’s reputation can be a valuable, admirable, durable, and sustainable asset that measurably contributes to competitiveness, valuation, and revenue generation capability.

A business’s reputation can also become a liability if unrecognized, overlooked, and unmanaged. In these instances, liability translates as, among other things, (a.) burden and/or challenge that (b.) narrows attractivity and utility, to (c.) moderate valuation, competitiveness, and revenue generation capability.

Definitions of reputation variously include perceptions, beliefs, and opinions acquired and held about someone or something. Reputations attach to people, products, services, brands, operating cultures, and new initiatives or ventures.

Reputation influence people to think a certain way about a business, e.g., its operating culture, products, and/or services.

Reputation comes from the Latin word reputationem, which means “consideration.” It’s how people consider, or label others and businesses, usually in contexts of or along a continuum of good or bad. ACQUIRE A REPUTATION – Cambridge English Dictionary

As a business intangible asset strategist and risk mitigator, perceptions held about a business (ala the public and stakeholders, et al) can influence throughout a value chain to reach suppliers, customers, employees, investors, and communities, etc.

Its’ important for readers to note also that reputation doesn’t necessarily translate to respect. That’s because reputation is mostly (if not entirely) external. Whereas respect can be internal and external simultaneously. Building Your Reputation (

 Of course, there are various factors which can influence – connote a business’s (public) reputation. For example, some ‘reputation influencing factors’ are single events, some are circumstantial, while others are experiential.

An unfortunate (present-day) commonality is reputation risks (harms) can materialize at the will and timing of nefarious shouts, shouting, and shouters all-of-which can cascade (virally) at keystroke speeds to adversely affect business standing and reputation for indeterminate periods of time.

Not infrequently, business reputation risks are emerge with precipitators, a particular triggering event and/or accusatory shouting, ala revelations of associations (inadvertent, coincidental, or intentional).

Well-managed and monitored reputations translate (broadly) to trust, credibility, customer loyalty, and serve to attract-retain top talent, among many other things. The Critical Role Of Reputation Management ( Positive reputations also lend itself to (building-sustaining) unique and likely proprietary forms, contexts, and applications of…

  • intellectual capital (knowledge, know how)
  • structural capital (processes, procedures)
  • relationship capital (associations, alliances)

Business reputation safeguards and risk mitigation are not the sole domain of Fortune 1000’s. The focus of this intangible asset strategist and risk mitigator and The Business Intangible Asset Blog is SME’s and SMM’s, i.e., small-medium enterprises, startups, and small-medium multinationals. Unarguably, reputation risk holds relevance business across sectors and stages of (business) development.

For every business I have encountered, their reputation translates as foundations to-for (their) competitiveness, revenue generation capability, durability, sustainability, and valuation.

This economic – operational reality translates to 70 – 80+% of most business’s valuation, competitiveness, and revenue generation capability, etc., lie in – derive directly from intangible (non-physical) assets. Intangibles | BrookingsUnseen Wealth: Report of the Brookings Task Force on Intangibles on JSTORIntangible Assets: Computers and Organizational Capital | Brookings)

Business leaders and management teams admitted in a Conference Board study, that ownership and responsibility for addressing reputational risks are often fragmented and seldom coordinated within a company and sometimes they’re assumed across a wide range of management teams and/or business unit managers. Reputation Risk: A Corporate Governance Perspective (

There remain debates about developing – arriving at good-better-best strategies – practices to characterize and address present-day reputational risks, i.e., as…

  • a separate and distinct category of risk management, or
  • merely additional – occasional adverse effects of operational incidents in which certain risks or threats can materialize.

With respect to (conventional) reputation risk, there remain two areas in which relatively little practical (applied) research has evolved, i.e., (1.) who is responsible, and (2.) who should take ownership for a company’s reputational risk?

The latter includes ‘reputation risk’ monitoring, stewardship, oversight and executing best practices to address – mitigate vulnerability, probability, and criticality if/when such risks materialize.

Today, I encourage all to consider reputational risks as (fiduciary-level) obligations in the context of ‘good company governance’.  Stone v. Ritter (911 A.2d 362) (Del. 2006)

In this context boards and management teams are obliged to pursue and reach consensus regarding (a.) definitions of reputation risk, (b.) the relevance of reputation(s) to a business, and (c.) recognize that reputation is a dynamic and valuable intangible asset which can be undermined and devalued at keystroke speeds.  (Adapted by Michael D. Moberly from a report produced by The Conference Boards titled ‘Reputation Risk: A Corporate Governance Perspective’)

Posts @ Business Intangible Asset Blog present various ‘risk realities’. Each warrant attention of business leaders, entrepreneurs, R&D administrators, management teams, boards, and investors across sectors. Mitigating (reacting, responding to) the often ‘public – viral’ risks and challenges produced by reputational risks, are obligations with little room or time for equivocation or error.

The Business Intangible Asset Blog was created in 2006 and now includes 1100+ topic specific posts. Each is intended to provide readers, ala business leaders, management teams, R&D administrators, boards, and investors, etc., with reliable insights on most matters related to business things intangible.

 Posts at Business Intangible Asset Blog are developed – written solely by Mr. Moberly and are intended to draw attention to the development, application, management, safeguards, and risk mitigation of business’s ‘mission essential’ intangible assets.

Readers are respectfully invited to explore other posts, along with books and papers available @ ‘Home – kpstrat

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