3 Fundamentals To Managing Your Good Reputation
Your organization’s reputation is its most valuable asset. It’s the reason why customers shop with you, why shareholders invest in your future and why employees come to work for you. It influences your bottom line and the emotional appeal of your brand.
Almost daily a reputational issue makes the headlines, eroding brand value and trust with the public, media, customers, employees and others. The root cause of the derailment, however, can often be traced to something less dramatic — a gradual process of communications going off-track.
Are you managing and monitoring your reputation with as much careful attention and discipline as you track your sales and earnings? Are you actively assessing your strengths and uncovering vulnerabilities that might improve your relationship with key audiences?
If you aren’t answering yes to these questions, you may be putting your competitive differentiator at risk.
Are you taking every step you possibly can to enhance your reputation?
Your organization’s reputation is based upon others’ perceptions. These perceptions may be shaped by what others are saying in the media, online or word-of-mouth, or they may be the result of a direct experience with your business. Consider your most vital relationships and evaluate the touchpoints that are available to positively influence them. What are your customers saying about their experience? Do your employees understand how they fit into your vision of the future? Have you effectively told your CSR story to socially responsible investors?
Preparing for the Challenges Ahead
How weather-proof is your organization’s communications? Because the storms will come.
Even well-managed organizations face labor issues, public health and safety concerns, weather events that affect the supply chain, lawsuits, data breaches and disruptions to their business model, to name a few. A state of preparedness happens before a crisis hits. Planning in advance of a crisis is the only act that will put you in the prepared minority.
When bad things happen, people always will measure you on how you respond. In the age of social media, if you wait for the challenge to hit – no matter how fast you think you are — you are already late to the party.
Assessing Your Performance
Do you understand what is driving perceptions of your reputation?
Only when you understand how you are perceived by key audiences can you begin to plug the gaps and take steps to improve your reputational position. You might find that your internal communications needs a little attention or that recent business growth demands new organizational roles and responsibilities. Often we’ll find a five-year-old crisis communications plan on the shelf and a whole new team of players scratching their heads on how to update and execute it.
While many others can influence what the rest of us think of your brand, you can control your own narrative and outcome by taking deliberate and strategic steps to enhance and protect your organization’s good reputation.
Why make the effort?
Because your reputation is about everything that matters.