October 30, 2014|
I caught an interesting blog post from the WSJ recently that easily demonstrates how reputation risk emerges.
In this case, a backlash against toll roads appears to be brewing in Texas because residents don’t understand that they pay for roads one way or the other, through tolls or taxes. Or both.
If private investors build the roads, they recoup their costs one way or another.
Tolls may be a payment method that is visible and irritating, and thus may cause nascent irritation to raise into outrage.This is especially true, the writer reports, when there is little transparency. This reminds me of the Chicago parking meter fiasco, which had little public review.
A public backlash can have significant repercussions immediately, or later down the road. The post suggests that organizations managing public infrastructure projects follow several strategies:
- Communicate clearly so people know what they are paying for, how and when. Roads are not free, except in our uninformed perceptions. Let people know.
- Reach out before a change happens, so user knowledge grows, and they see that you are acting with transparency.
- Engage with your stakeholders, regularly. Don’t wait until the project is live and expect them to accept your version of the story.
Reputation risk emerges when the expectations of stakeholders are not met. The best advice is to listen continually, engage frequently, and always be open.
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