By Regine le Roux, Founder and Managing Director of Reputation Matters
When setting your resolutions for the year ahead, did you remember to include goals for your business’ reputation too?
Setting reputation goals should be as important as setting personal goals for yourself, for example getting fit and healthy. Just as you cannot function normally when you are under the weather, your business is not able to function optimally if you do not have a healthy reputation. People want to do business with companies that they trust and that offer a consistent product or service. Reputation management shouldn’t only become a priority when crisis occurs. Managing and monitoring your business’ reputation on a continuous basis will dramatically minimise possible crisis scenarios, assisting you in proactively managing any looming issues.
Be prepared to do the work
Your reputation fitness can be compared to being marathon fit. You are in it for the long haul. You cannot expect to complete a marathon without putting in the work, having the right equipment or fuelling yourself with healthy habits. Your reputation won’t thrive if you don’t look after it. If you don’t prepare properly for a marathon you’ll cause some serious injuries to yourself.
Monitor your progress
You cannot manage what you have not measured. Before setting any resolutions, ask yourself, “how fit is my reputation?”. How do you know whether your company has a good, healthy reputation or not? What do you base your decision on? There is often a misconception that it is all about social media and your online presence. You may have an incredible social media presence, but that does not mean that you have a good reputation. We’ve all seen incredibly quirky and funny campaigns, only to be left deflated when the actual product or service offering was nowhere near what was promised.
Be more aware of your online presence
At Reputation Matters, we believe that social media management is only one of ten key things that you need to take into consideration when it comes to building your reputation. This may sound very daunting, but this is where the beauty of measuring your reputation comes into play and knowing exactly what the perceptions are of your different stakeholder groups. Each group plays an important role in the health of your reputation. Understanding this will help you to identify the priorities that you need to focus on for the year.
Keep in mind that your reputation starts internally; your employees play a crucial role in how others experience your business. They share their sentiments, positive or negative to those dearest and nearest to them; make sure that they share your reputation fitness goal.
If you are still a bit stuck on where to start, ask yourself:
1.What do you want the reputation of your business to be? What is the long-term view?
2.Do you have the right team and strategic alliances cheering you on that is on your side?
3.Do you have the right tools to produce a consistent product or service?
4. Are you effectively communicating your value or are you the best kept secret within your industry?
5. Measure your reputation; do a quick perception audit of your audiences, this will help you to know whether you are communicating the right message to your stakeholders.
Formulate your reputation resolutions, strategise, and plan based on your reputation score, and make this your winning year!