If you are like us, and we believe that is very likely possible, you know the most valuable thing you own is your word. Similarly, the only thing worth pure gold in your business is its reputation. This is something a lot of people in business think about but don’t have much of a plan for managing.
However, you really should have a plan because the reputation of your business is linked directly to those core elements that determine its success or failure. What makes this even more important is the simple logic of how long it takes to build a reputation versus how little time it can actually take to ruin it.
What Actually IS Reputation Management?
The superficial and glib perception of reputation management is, of course, making sure your company stays out of trouble. And if and when it does get into trouble, that all things are handled gracefully to minimise any potential damage to your reputation. This is what we do in our personal lives, and this is the ‘easy’ way to manage our companies.
But, as you can well imagine, the process of effectively managing your company’s reputation goes much deeper.
Not coincidentally, this process has a lot to do with the three pillars that we at Bullet Proof have defined as essential to any company’s success. And they are critical because they are tied in several significant ways to your company’s essence and being.
1. Getting To Know & Love Your Customers. The lion’s share of any company’s reputation is directly connected to how much their customers appreciate them. So the fundamental axiom at work here is that companies who know and love their customers, and prove it every day, are the ones who are going to have the best reputations and the smoothest way forward.
2. Working With Simple Systems: Companies who streamline their internal processes invariably make it easier for their people to do what they were hired to do. This, in turn, creates positive reinforcement for their reputations, both internally, with their employees and externally, with their customers and suppliers.
3. Giving Back To Your People & Your Community: Every company that makes this a part of their mission will build their reputations as caring and community-involved business. They will also become known as good employers, and as such will be able to attract good people, who, in turn, take good care of their customers.
Consistency Is The Key
Every company is a brand. Every brand has a strategy. Every strategy is anchored by something called brand character. Brand character dictates
A) the image the company wants to project, i.e. the way it sees itself, and B) the tone and manner of all the company’s communication, including interactions with their suppliers, customers, employees as well as their corporate culture.
The importance of defining this character and integrating it into the three pillars outlined above cannot be understated because these are the principal components of the company’s reputation.
Those companies that will survive and thrive over the next decade and beyond, are the ones that will take the time to define a brand character and walk that talk every day, with every customer, with every employee and through positive interaction with the communities in which they are located.
Business is filled with challenges. But the care and feeding of your company’s reputation is arguably one of the most important of those challenges. It’s also something that you may not necessarily be able to do on your own or strictly with internal resources. If you feel you can do it yourself, you have our most profound admiration. However, should you feel that an objective professional opinion would help, we should talk.
Our experience with reputation building and management is deep and wide. Our commitment to doing it effectively and affordable is why we are small instead of big. And our desire to help our client companies survive and thrive going forward is why we’re doing this in the first place. We’ll help you change your thinking for the better by helping you build and maintain a strong positive reputation, which will, in turn, make your business more customer-centric, efficient and profitable. Give us a call.