Successful reputation management remains a top-of-mind concern for executives across the world, according to Reputation Institute's annual survey of corporate leaders.

Companies with strong/excellent reputations—as measured by the Institute’s RepTrak framework—more often have a foundation of measurement in place and are now focusing their efforts on cross-stakeholder communication, corporate social responsibility and managing reputation risks. Companies with an average reputation are still working on developing the business case and finding the best approach to measuring their reputation.

"The lack of a structured process for integrating reputation management into the core business is the number one challenge to successful reputation management," says Brad Hecht, Reputation Institute's vice president and chief research officer. "Fewer than half the reputational leaders we surveyed reported that their organizations have the right internal competencies, structures, processes and methodologies in place to assess and manage reputation risks."

Study participants from companies headquartered in the United States or Canada are ahead of European companies in implementing a "well-established structure for addressing and mitigating key reputation risks" and "a cross-functional governance structure to manage the key reputation risks," the Institute says. However, only 59 percent of respondents overall "strongly" agree that their organizations have a credible and compelling narrative that addresses cross-stakeholder expectations and aligns with corporate purpose.