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An Interview With Bernhard Bauhofer, The Founder & CEO Sparring Partners: „We Make Reputation Stars“

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Below is our recent interview with Bernhard Bauhofer, the Founder and CEO at Sparring Partners:

Bernhard Bauhofer

Q: In the media you are portrayed as a reputation guru…

A: This is flattering but it’s not how I see myself. I neither do any mystical things nor do I have disciples ((smiles)). But at Sparring Partners we do have satisfied and loyal customers. And that is what counts. We work with high discipline and based on our systemic 360° Reputation Management methodology. During my 3-decades long career I have dedicated 20 years to the fascinating field of Reputation Management. My personal mission is to help my clients become reputation stars.

Q: Who has a good reputation?

A: The company, organization or person that know how to manage expectations of the multiple stakeholders. This may sound easy, but it’s incredibly challenging and complex in our fast- paced world of digitalization and 24-7-365 communication. A CEO has to deal with conflicting interests – shareholders want the share price to continuously go up and demand constant improvement of cost-efficiency; to keep the best talents you have to pay competitive salaries and offer costly compensation packages. A company is thus condemned to continuous growth which may harm the environment and puts it on the watchlist of activists and sustainable investors. The Art of Reputation Management lies in the balancing of this diversity of interests.

Bernhard Bauhofer CEO und Inhaber von (reputation management). Aufgenommen am 2. September 2014, in Wollerau, SZ, im und um den Geschaeftskomplex in dem ihren Hauptsitz haben.

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Q: Why is reputation so important?

A: Your reputation is the concentrate of all of your previous actions – and an implicit promise for your future actions. A sound reputation is the prerequisite for any successful relationship, the facilitator for a business deal or a top job assignment and the legitimization for expecting a leap of faith. The moment you don’t fulfil the expectations placed in you your reputation capital starts to erode.

Q: How do you build a reputation?

A: Consciously or unconsciously everyone has a reputation, e.g. for being unpunctual or unreliable – or in a positive sense for being a fighter, reinventing him- or herself. All values, convictions and beliefs and life mottos are reflected in a reputation. On the ground of these fundamental strengths of an organization or person which we help to carve out we will develop a comprehensive reputation management program which includes all reputation drivers and stakeholder. Don’t expect miracles. Building a robust reputation takes considerable time and requires an ongoing commitment.

Q: Switzerland recently made the headlines with reputation scandals..

A: Swiss government-related institutions like postal services and railways and cooperative bank Raiffeisen are involved in severe crises of confidence due to deficiencies in governance. We are seeing weak checks & balances, inadequate supervision and complacent boards. Recent surveys show that the confidence in the corporate world particularly among the younger population is alarmingly eroding.

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Q: You’re also advising stars and artists in reputation management. Where are the critical points there?

A: Artists have one great advantage – they are independent and free of all those restrictions a company has to deal with. But some of them may be induced to commit actions which can damage their reputation. Think of the MeToo movement that hit Hollywood directors and actors or the tax scandals around football players or musicians.

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