Reputation is everything in this globally market. Whether you’re an internet-based company that sells arts and crafts or a multi-billion dollar corporation that drills the seas for oil, the need for a positive reputation is absolutely essential to appease shareholders and build and maintain relationships with consumers and publics.
Building a reputation is easy, building a positive one is extremely difficult. Communication strategists need to be on their game when handling the image of an organization (business). Whether it’s by a crises, bad press or a customer complaint, bad management of image will often affect your company negatively, at times, companies with a bad name never recover.
But, what are the perks of having a good reputation? higher stock, service and product sales, mentions, expanded reach and press, everything needed to further develop your company and increase net worth.
If you’re a new or emerging company in need for image management, here are a few tidbits to consider when building your brand reputation.
The best place to begin building a good reputation is through social media. Even before constructing their own website, companies typically start with building a Facebook page. It’s here that people first become exposed to your brand, its services and your way of dealing with followers.
Marketing expert and nationally renowned image management professional, Rich Gorman, explains that social media is the best conduit to manage consumer relations and track conversations (good or bad) that deal with your company, which in turn can help you communicate efficiently with consumers.
When it comes to consumer relations, remember to always respond with tact. Even more importantly, respond. This form of online communication not only builds your reputation as a leader in customer service, but helps develop a relationship with your consumer base.
Rewarding Your Publics
If you have a stream of steady, loyal customers, remember to reward them for it! Some companies create contests or giveaways in order to engage their audiences and build company reputation.
Publicity is one of the most effective ways to build a reputation and control the information that is being sent to your target publics and shareholders, this means that most press that you generate will always be good. The better the press, the better the reputation.
Usually, when a company has a change in personnel (applicable to corporations), structure, has (re) invented a new product (applicable to technology companies, i.e. Apple) or has newsworthy information for the community, communication professionals tend to send news releases, or written pitches, to generate publicity provided by a news organization. Although companies have control of the information they release to the media, be aware that there is such thing as bad press (usually sent by a third party), which can damage a reputation.
A crisis is a company-wide catastrophe that can result in the stasis or downfall of a company. The a company handles a crisis will effectively brand you with a good or bad reputation. How exactly can a company handle a crisis without jeopardizing their good name?
First, always have a crisis plan prepared. This way, when a crisis hits, you’ll know exactly what to do, what to say and who to say it to. Second, be timely. Don’t wait too long to issue a statement or press conference. The more you wait, the guiltier your company will look in court of public opinion. Third, take responsibility for your mistake and take care of damages sustained by those affected. If you need to, make changes in company policy, practices or structure. Fourth, re-visit and monitor the aftermath of the crisis. If there’s something that you’ve learned works better communication-wise, implement it into your crisis plan.
The best way to integrate your company into the community is by getting involved. Build your company reputation by collaborating with non-profits or charities to show your company’s humanity. Many companies also offer scholarships, which boost their good name in the education sector. Philanthropy not only build a good reputation, but also creates a mutual relationship between a company and the community.
Reputation management can be what breaks or builds a company. With effective communication and image management strategies, like the tips aforementioned, you’ll be able to further develop the good name of your brand.