Why social reputation matters

“It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, it matters what you think of yourself.”

Almost every one of us must have heard this old adage from the live-your-life gurus. They always teach us to live our lives as we want to. What other people think of us has actually always mattered – for an individual, for a family, for a company and for a country. If others think of you as good kind-hearted person, it surely matters.

What others think of us is actually very different from living our lives with other people’s opinions. It’s not that a person should be influenced by other people’s opinion, but it is our deeds that can or may influence others’ impression of us. It always mattered in the past and it matters now in the present-day world.

As children, in schools, we saw personal reputation was paramount. Most of the times, the teachers judged you and your exam scripts from our individual reputations. A student with a good reputation was bound to get good grades in the exams. I myself could never secure pass marks in English and Bangla fortnightly exams in my six years I spend in Jhenidah Cadet College.

However, I obtained extremely good marks in the two Board exams – SSC and HSC. It wasn’t because I was bad in English and Bangla; it was because my reputation wasn’t good; none of our teachers believed that I could do well in these two subjects. I was responsible for the reputation that I had emitted among teachers.

In the old days, as a child, I saw some rich families wanted to uphold their social reputation. At that time only the reach used to worry about their reputation, the poor were only concerned about their hunger and survival. The rich were businessmen and wanted to others to think about their business. They wanted to become likeable brand and they wanted to earn their customers’ respect in order to sell more among them.

The companies have replaced the individual business now; the care for earning social reputation has slightly gained momentum in our society. If you care about your reputation and do something about it, you earn trust and credibility, your sales go up, your professional image is bound to shine and the professionals would want to join your company. These are some very simple reasons for every company to seriously think about while they do business.

Social media platforms these days have become important environments for a person’s or a company’s reputation. Whatever we say or display on these platforms portrays us; over a period of time they create a reputation for ourselves – good or bad or something in-between.

Someone who’s posting pictures of the food dishes would obviously be equated with eating and someone whose postings are about products and services, he or she would surely be reputed as a marketeer. Thousands of companies across the world these days are using social media platforms for boosting their images and these have carefully incorporated social media in their communication strategies.

Take political parties, for example. Of all organizations, the political parties need reputation management across the world. What do they do? First of all, they try to show their integrity so that the people may rely on them and vote for them. They need reputation management the most. The people are all the time watching their activities. Imagine our ICT Advisor to the Prime Minister Sajib Wajed Joy arranging an Asian summit where sons and daughters of all heads of state of Asian nations would gather in Dhaka. Imagine what would happen to the image of Bangladesh Awami League if he can arrange such a gala meeting!

The initiative, if taken up, would ultimately put an impact on the country’s image!
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities have become one of the best ways to build your expected social reputation. One of the objectives of CSR is to care for the society in which we do business. At the same time, companies can immensely benefit and establish a trustworthy image in the society. The impact of doing CSR is a long-term affair.

Look at Prothom Alo – a vernacular daily of Bangladesh. How did it establish itself as a credible provider of news? Yes, of course, it had always cared for providing accurate news and analyses. On the top of their core business, they have also been also upholding a cause – a cause to eliminate acid violence in the country. They have run numerous campaigns across the country in order to prevent this crime.

This newspaper has thought of quite a lot of other social causes also. Inspiring the students across the country for focusing on science and mathematics has been another arena that they have been working in.

Look at Nitol Motors. They sell motorized vehicles. The chairman of this company had been upholding the cause of safe-driving with a tagline “Ekti durghotona shara jiboner kanna” (One accident will make you cry all your life). This slogan reminds each and every person in the country that we must stay away from accidents; it showed that this company cared for the customers. This one tagline, I believe, have benefitted the company in boosting its social image.

I know of a digital company in Sri Lanka that runs a huge campaign on “how to use technology wisely”. This campaign – a CSR project — aims to make the people aware of the benefits of technology as well as the hazards of it. The Sri Lankans love this company for running this project and its social respect has been quite high since they had launched the campaign.

Social reputation has always been important to everybody, every family, every company and every country. Some cared to work on it; some didn’t bother. Those who cared, gained mileage in whatever they were doing. Many companies in Bangladesh run some CSR activities, but it doesn’t look like that they are well thought-out activities. We aren’t passionate about managing our social reputation through CSR programmes.

We’re yet to fathom that television commercials don’t boost the image, our work does.

First published on Bangla Tribune website: http://en.banglatribune.com/opinion/opinion/5189/Why-social-reputation-matters

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