Consumers attach great importance to the image that a company offers in its products and services, even more than to the perception of the products and services themselves. In fact, reputation is perhaps the greatest asset in the business world.
Hence, taking care of it is paramount and there are certain things that can and should be done to improve the reputation of your company or business. Managing your company’s reputation should be carefully planned and implemented and should be a key part of your sales and marketing strategy.
Get it wrong and all that hard work can be lost in a moment. Get it right and you’ll join all those companies that come to mind when you think about who has a positive presence in their respective market.
Here are seven tips for improving the reputation of your company or business:
1. Become a market leader
Why do we respect some brands and are ambivalent about others? Positive track record and user experience are par for the course when it comes to brand awareness and perceived success, but it’s also about how the brand communicates with the market.
Positioning yourself as a market expert or thinker can create a sense that you are the “leader” in the market, or at the very least, the “driver” of the market. Actively managing a reputation, to contribute to discussions and help define the market, will enhance your reputation in this regard.
2. Let your customers say good things
It seems like we’re back to marketing basics, but it’s simply amazing how many companies miss the trick of getting other reputable brands to say great things about them.
Plus, most customers will willingly participate in your reputation management, because people still like to do business with people who have a positive reputation. Customers who have just said yes to your latest offer are ready to say good things about you. But don’t wait for them to emerge after transactions, you have to get those good reviews and ratings right from the start.
3. Admit your shortcomings and anticipate problems.
If you really have made a mistake, then it would be a good time to admit your failings, apologize and limit any damage with positive, but conciliatory comments.
If you have not made a mistake and it is clearly a misunderstanding or worse, a misrepresentation, then it would be a good time to issue statements that unequivocally confirm your position and counter the threat. Before problems arise, be honest with yourself and your people and let them know everything.
4. Know who your allies are
Ask people in any company what their key messages are, and you’ll probably get different answers from everyone, from accurate to outlandish. However, most companies have customer-focused people who are not in sales and marketing who can convey the key messages to prospective customers and the world at large.
This also applies to partners — do they know how to sell, do they have the information and key messages needed to build a positive reputation in the markets in which you operate?
5. Staying connected
With social media now considered a “must-have”, also for businesses of all shapes and sizes, it is imperative to manage a good online reputation. Social media campaigns can quickly gain momentum in either direction.
It’s all about getting the right communication guidelines and engaging in a dialogue with your audience, rather than a monologue.
Social media can be scary — it’s unedited, unmonitored and there’s nowhere to hide. Or so it seems. But it’s also a great place to manage your reputation in a positive and timely manner.
Taking the initiative or responding to a criticism quickly can keep your reputation as a company or brand from burning and smoldering in the social fire.
6. Don’t be a one-hit wonder
As with all things in the form of marketing, strategy and direction must be followed closely with tactics and legwork. Starting with building a well thought out reputation management plan and clear direction so that everyone understands the objectives and buy-in.
7. Preparation is key
It is often said that maintaining a good reputation is as difficult as building one in the beginning. But it doesn’t have to be. As long as you keep in mind that you are on an ongoing journey to a better reputation, then the focus is on growth, not standing still.