Investing in Reputational Capital 101: Utilising data for informed decision making

by Jason McGrath, Senior Vice President, Ipsos


Think about your place brand. Your hard-earned national reputation is the accumulation of hundreds of years of historical events condensed into individual thoughts and opinions. In aggregate, these perceptions have equal, or greater, worth potential than traditional measures of national wealth: they dictate where people want to visit, where they want to purchase their products, or where they want to conduct business. Your place brand has intrinsic value – akin to that of your personal savings – and the investment strategy you choose for your reputation capital will regulate the return on investment.


Successful fund managers obsess over data represented in balance sheets and candlestick charts to devise investment strategies and maximize the return of their investment capital while minimizing risks. Decisions based on data are backed by research, tested, sound, and happen to be the key to a successful reputation capital investment strategy.


Data-driven strategies for reputation capital investment:

  • Identify the assets and liabilities in your reputational balance sheet to understand the strength of your place brand reputation
    • Let's face it… you need a starting point and a way to accurately account for what you’re working with. Do not allow biases to undervalue or overvalue the assets that make up your place brand – instead, use data to accurately determine your reputational strengths and weaknesses.  
  • Rely on hard facts and statistics to develop informed strategies which will yield the highest return on investment
    • So, what’s next?... Prioritize. Now that you know with utmost certainty where your starting line is drawn, do not run out on a wild goose chase once the starting pistol goes off – instead, use data and insights to focus on strategies that have the highest likelihood of engendering positive outcomes.


Just  like financial advisors exist to guide people on the journey to achieve their  financial goals, specialized teams of researchers are ready to assist you on  your journey to success by:

  • Using the highest industry quality standards to accurately collect data and run calculations
  • Bringing the perspective of decades of relevant experience to design a program that achieves your unique objectives
  • Properly contextualize and interpret the data into findings to correctly infer the broader implications on your place’s reputation


Pitfalls to avoid….

Investing in specialist research expertise will help you avoid potential pitfalls such as logical fallacies, inappropriately attributing causation, or even overreaction to anecdotal data.


At Ipsos, we have over a decade of experience conducting Place Brand Research (Nation Brands Index ‘NBI’ & City Brands Index ‘CBI’) which has granted us vast experience and intimate knowledge about the opinions and perceptions of people around the world. We help identify actionable insights that help places around the globe develop and implement effective strategies, and measure and refine their approach over time.


Minimize the uncertainty and risk of making big decisions on a whim, trust in the data to inform your strategies and exponentially increase your probability of success.


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