Valorization refers the act of establishing the value of something through argument. In terms of reputation, this usually refers to the business case that organizations and consultants make for why organizations should invest in their corporate reputations, through reputation management or reputation risk management. This entry describes five views on valorization and their uses in reputation-related matters, followed by the connection of valorization to value creation and a description of projected valorization success rates when applying rhetorical theory to diffusion theory.
There are five different uses of the term valorization. First, valorization can refer to the process of fixing an artificial price. In this sense, valorization refers to using reputation as a way of inflating the prices of products or services.
Second, the term valorization is used to describe the process of assigning value or merit, or to validate. This use of valorization relates to communication (or reputation) managers attempting to validate the research done on behalf of the communication or reputation management function; to justify the budgets spent on campaigns, staff positions, or even entire departments of communication within organizations; or to distinguish the work done on behalf of the organization from other organizational roles or competing explanations for reputational change.
Third, valorization can refer to the process of increasing value, respect, or dignity for some concept, attribute, or idea. Here, valorization is used in two ways. First, many research studies report the low degree of trust in organizations and low degrees of confidence in institutions. Organizations respond by attempting to build (or rebuild) trust with their stakeholders and constituencies. Second, many in the field of public relations attempt to take ownership of the concept of corporate reputation, in an effort to legitimize the profession, gain entry into the corporate board room (“earn a seat at the management table”), or build or extend their personal bases of power.
Fourth, in Marxist studies, valorization refers to the increase in reputation as a capital asset through the exercise of reputation management or risk management activities.
Fifth, valorization refers to getting the maximum value out of a project. Thus, if an organization invests in reputation management, it may seek to achieve a diverse set of outcomes related to employees (more talented workers, increased identification, commitment, or loyalty), consumers (who may be willing to pay a premium price for a product from a company with a good reputation or who are less likely to swap products), executives (more talented executives), activists (ward off criticism), partners (extract extra benefits from partners who want to work with highly reputable companies), and so on.
Valorization is often connected to value creation, with three different views. In the first view, valorization and value creation are antithetical. They are on a continuum where value creation is at one end and valorization is at the other. A second view is that value creation occurs through valorization. A third view is that they are two separate phenomena, both necessary but neither sufficient without the other.
A model that describes how valorization works comes from Sandy Green’s description of the production of taken-for-grantedness through rhetoric and persuasion. The theory helps explain how reputation management and reputation risk management are equally thought of as a management fad and as a mechanism for holding organizations accountable, and the varying degrees of acceptance these perspectives have gained over time. Using Green’s theory, valorization efforts supported with pathos (emotional) justifications will have a fast rate of adoption and a fast rate of rejection. Valorization efforts supported with logos (logical) justifications will have a medium rate of adoption and a medium rate of rejection. And valorization efforts supported with ethos (character based) justifications will have a slow rate of adoption and a slow rate of rejection. Thus, the most effective valorization efforts over time are the ones that begin with pathos justifications, followed by logos justifications, followed by ethos justifications, where the business case will lead to a rapid rate of initial adoption with broad diffusion followed by slow abandonment.
Berger, B. K., & Reber, B. H. (2006). Gaining influence in public relations: The role of resistance in practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Carroll, C. E., Greyser, S. A., & Schreiber, E. (2013, March). Exploring “valorization” and value creation for communications: The pursuit and development of the business case. Paper presented at the International Public Relations Research Conference, Miami, FL.
Green, S. E. (2004). A rhetorical theory of diffusion. Academy of Management Review, 29(4), 653–669. doi: