Help needed: how can I improve this formula?

QuestionI need some feedback on the following and am genuinely looking at ways to improve this formula to better explain the effects of content sharing on reputation.

I’ve been thinking about a way to calculate brand reputation online with a mathematical formula. Now I know off the bat that reputation is something that defies calculation. Indeed, it may be argued that to calculate it at all is an inauthentic act, and thus would logically erode reputation. So perhaps this is a pointless exercise.  But please, let me have a go – I just want to see if this can work.

I’ve been trying to communicate the differences between styles of content sharing online and to show how overtly sales or exclusively positive information can actually have a negative effect on brands in an online environment. So it seemed logical to present this information in a mathematical structure in order for the cumulative effects of skewed content streams to be clear.

I’ve come up with the following basic formula:

Reputation Value = (Content Quality x Voice Authenticity)

The reputation ‘value’ attributed to any voice in social media is calculated as a product (in the mathematical sense of the term) of content quality and authenticity.

So if a scoring system (say a mark out of 10) was applied to content quality and voice authenticity the Reputation value will alter.

EG 1: Basic advertisement with good quality photo but sales style
Content score of 8/10 with an authenticity of 2/10
Reputation value 0.16

EG 2: News story held on 3rd party site, with timely, relevant content in authentic syle
Content score of 8/10 with an authenticity of 7/10
Reputation value 0.56

EG 3: Company announcement – dull but necessary
Content score of 4/10 with an authenticity of 8/10
Reputation value 0.32

So when a firm uses a social channel to blatantly profit from content they share, they are not generating value for others in the system, and could potentially harm the Reputation value. Even dull company content gets a better score than advertising.

Information about products that generates value for the audience (eg: discounts, etc) will rate more highly in authenticity rankings – so long as the firm has a trustworthy history for delivering on promises. But obviously the highest rating content will be inherently interesting content that has been shared because for its interest value.

How can I improve this equation? I realise my formula is oversimplified, so I’d like some feedback on how to improve without overcomplicating the issue too much… And again, I realise the difficulty is that this is a complex issue. I just think there has to be some way of presenting this kind of equation to demonstrate the differences between content styles in social versus traditional advertising channels.

All feedback gratefully received.

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