What does it mean (if anything) to ‘reset’ a corporate reputation?

At Vital Speeches, we think enough of the corporate reputation guru Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross, that we make sure her blog posts appear in our own News & Opinion section. But sometimes Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist strikes a sour note. Or maybe she’s just more candid than your average PR exec, when it comes to talking about her agenda.

Case in point: On Sunday, she posted about “reset,” a word she’s seeing used increasingly by corporate leaders and others, sometimes in reference to corporate reputations. Wrote she:

I am glad that “reset” is a trend and intend to use it as often as I can for describing reputation-building. You have to reset your reputation now. Until you press the reset button, your reputation will be ground zero. Resetting your reputation is the right thing to do. If you don’t like the word reset, you can always substitute reboot.

To my way of thinking, the idea of “resetting” a reputation—a largely unknowable thing that exists in the minds of hordes of other people—is like resetting yesterday’s weather. Whether a corporation or a person—one resets one’s behavior, and hopes the reputation slowly changes along with it.

But “resetting a reputation”? Useful in selling consulting, perhaps. But that’s about it.

Agree?

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