5 Reputation Management Commandments Warren Buffett Lives By

Tom Popomaronis | March 5, 2021

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. – Warren Buffett


Warren Buffett knows how fragile a brand’s reputation can be and yet how incredibly crucial it is to survival. Berkshire Hathaway’s reputation is so stellar, it’s considered part of the value proposition when they bid on buying out other businesses. This didn’t happen by accident. Buffett cultivates his public image using these five reputation management guidelines:

1. Respect Comes From a Job Well-Done
There needs to be some sort of foundation behind a reputation; it can’t just be built on snazzy press releases. Any effective investor, CEO, or executive knows that a good reputation depends on having a proven track record of success.

2. Be Radically Transparent
People have almost a sixth sense about being deceived; sooner or later, the truth will come out. The solution to this problem is to be radical about transparency, keeping dealings above-board and ethical. In the information age, there’s no hiding from the truth.

3. Reputation Monitoring
Keeping a finger on the pulse of what the public is saying about the brand gives a company a real-time customer survey apparatus that’s essentially free. Taking advantage of this is crucial to successful reputation management.

4. React Quickly and Be Polite
Monitoring the brand is only half the battle. A speedy reaction can guard a good reputation. But in an online environment, it’s easy to lose context — so it’s critical to be polite. This can be difficult to remember when busy, so it’s often an overlooked component. Nobody likes anger or hate, and going that route could damage one’s reputation even more.

5. Actually Address Criticism
Again, there’s no hiding from mistakes. Criticism can be valid and, when offered and used constructively, it can improve a reputation. Addressing criticism head-on is key.

If you could use some help attaining Buffett’s high standards, reach out to Massive Alliance. Our reputation engineers can help you form a strong digital wall so you own the public image of both your brand and your executive team.

Remember: your reputation is an asset – treat it like the investment it is and it will pay dividends.

EVP, Innovation
Tom is a serial entrepreneur, product development expert, and content management strategist. Every hour of every day (perhaps too many hours) he focuses on strategies for our Executive Leadership Branding clients to build a powerful and credible online reputation.