Dividends of a good reputation 

Your business reputation matters to a lot of different people. PHOTO | COURTESY

Some researchers and companies are still pondering on what makes firms signal or mitigate agency conflicts when need arises.  

When news of the ‘rich and famous’ trends all over social media, such scenarios overshadow what could have been known as good deeds of either a company or personal reputation.

For instance, the recent allegations of an entrepreneur and businessman on both social and mainstream media sparked a lot of debate among the public. 

Whereas a renowned businessman tried to fight for his reputation by giving his side of the story through social media platforms explaining the predicament, many may not have the chance to do so.  

 “There have been several rumours and attacks made against me and The Simba Group of Companies on both social and mainstream media stemming from the Vantage Loan saga. In this open letter, I share my truth as to what truly transpired,” Patrick Bitature, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer at Simba Group East Africa, wrote on his Twitter page.

But how many get the chance to clear the air?

On Tuesday, June 07, 2022, Daily Monitor published a story titled: ‘Bank of Uganda looking into $10m Bitature loan’ indicating that the Central Bank had started inquiries to assess if there are any risks to the commercial banking landscape from the high-profile debt war between Simba Group, a leading local set of companies owned by businessman Patrick Bitature, and Vantage, a South-African based lender.

The banking regulator took interest in the matter last month after lawyers acting on behalf of Vantage took out an advert announcing plans to auction three prime properties belonging to the businessman within 30 days.

The executive director in-charge of Supervision at Bank of Uganda, Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi, wrote to Vantage’s lawyers of Kirunda and Wasige Advocates, following the publication of the auction notice..

The Central Bank official asked for clarification about the background to the auction notice, as well as “any further but related information, which in your view, Bank of Uganda as a financial sector regulator, should be made aware.”

Good reputation

Mr Joseph Ajal, an associate coach, who also doubles as chief executive officer, PrecisionHR Proprietary Ltd, defines a good reputation as a socially responsible corporate citizen that looks out for the welfare of the community over and above the quest for profits. 

“There is a dividend in good reputation seen in customer loyalty, staff retention and increased business performance. This entails living up to the values, mission and brand promise of the company to its stakeholders,” Ajal says.    

In addition, constant investment in product quality and excellent customer experience as well as a robust employee and customer value proposition. 

“It takes years of effort to build and can be ripped down in a short time. So there is a need for consistency in keeping the brand promise and employee value proposition,” he notes. 

Godwin Juma, building network coach, defines company reputation as the public’s perception about a particular company. In other words, how the world sees the company.

This is very critical depending on the nature of the company’s business since it determines the direction and course of the company’s corporate culture, business model and ideology among others. 

“Reputation revolves around all stakeholders of a business such as employees, customers, suppliers, financiers, shareholders, and general public. A good company reputation boosts customer confidence in the company’s market offerings hence creating assurance of continuous business,” Juma explains. 

Good reputation is a competitive advantage that is enjoyed by a business in a particular industry for example recruitment of highly skilled employees, competent distributors and suppliers.

“Good reputation is important for supporting a company’s brand strategy especially where the firm sells a variety of products or services in highly competitive markets,” he adds, noting that customers will tend to be loyal to companies that are perceived to produce/deliver high quality products/services.

Juma elucidates that having a good company reputation consists of management’s commitment to promote good corporate image in terms of delivering quality services and products consistently, settling claims/debts promptly, and a robust communications strategy with both internal and external stakeholders.

Effective functioning of organisation processes includes; decision making systems, responding to crises/ emergencies, control and evaluation systems; management information systems. 

This entails the policies and controls relating to employee relations, client relationship management, public relations, quality assurance and contractor/service provider relationships.

Building good reputation 

He adds that building a good reputation involves timely delivery of quality products/services to customers, robust customer/client relationship strategies such as responding to queries timely, after sale services, easy access to information (pricing, locations, products).

Secondly, strategic generosity; operating a social responsibility plan that addresses key community challenges or supports strategic sectors for example donations, grants, scholarships, sponsorships

In addition, it entails capacity building from within the company that is formulating internal policies that guide how the employees relate with business stakeholders for example customers, suppliers and the public. 

Furthermore, being consistent in the company’s dealings like timely settlement of claims/debts, quality assurance, ethical norms, and professionalism.

Personal branding

Justus Karuhanga, senior partner, in charge of International Relations and business KTA Advocates, says that a good reputation has so much to do with personal branding. 

For instance, if someone wants to advertise with a one media house such as Nation Media Group (NTV Uganda or Daily Monitor), the rates will vary from other media houses because of branding and the reputation. 

This then also implies that branding can be weighed both at a company and individual level depending on what you want.

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