Reputation Institute : Flagging membership
A neatly-performing PR tool draws attention to its failings.
Reputation Institute, a US-headquartered international reputation management organisation, makes a display of its corporate members roster.
Reputation Institute features a RI Corporate Members dropdown in the right-hand column of all pages in its wide-ranging Knowledge Center. A caption invites visitors to select a country to view the institute’s corporate members by location. The selection field is ready-filled with a country name and displayed beneath are the logos of members from that country. Clicking on a logo opens the company’s web site in a new secondary window. The feature reloads to highlight a different country each time a new page is opened within the section.
Manual selection is from a menu of eight countries: Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine, US. The number of corporate members varies between one (Chile) and 18 (Netherlands); the average is nine. There is a prompt below the display to sign up for news and updates, but no link to membership information.
Reputation Institute’s member locator is a neatly-performing public relations/marketing tool, but whether it is either reinforcing the intended message or being worked as well as it could be is open to question. The big PR problem is that, for a globally operating organisation, the spread of countries from which it draws its corporate membership looks pretty thin and not a little idiosyncratic. The fact that only a minority of the 28 countries in which the institute lists offices or ‘associates’ is represented puts a further question mark over the advisability of making so much of the tool.
That aside, the absence of a link to membership information represents a failure to optimise the marketing potential of the feature. There is a link in the left navigation on the opposite side of the page but at best visitors will have to scan the screen to find it. An at-hand call to action would be much harder to ignore.http://www.reputationinstitute.com/knowledge-center/index
First published on 07 April, 2009