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17 May 2017 Posted by 

THE VALUE OF REPUTATION

Tips for staying ahead in the game
By Helen Sweeney
IN this digital age where bad news travels faster than the speed of light, reputation can be a very fragile thing.  As a company owner you must understand how reputation works.
 
Reputation is how your company is perceived. Whether you are an individual, a company or an organisation, reputation is your most important intangible asset. 
 
Reputation is hard to win and it takes many years to build a strong reputation. This in turn can be lost within minutes. Just ask United Airlines. 
 
And there is no guarantee that your company's reputation will ever recover to that same level after a serious scandal or controversy.  
 
However, the real reason why reputation is so important in business is because it has direct bearing on your company’s bottom line. 
 
Reputation is an asset that is accumulated, grown and developed. Reputation can be managed; it creates consumer confidence, which leads to greater sales. A strong and positive reputation engenders the trust, which, over the long run, guarantees your company an advantage over your competitors.
 
It can be leveraged to achieve greater value for your shares and justify higher prices for your products thus leading to greater profits. A great reputation means more money!  
 
Reputation can be measured across a range of different areas of a company’s operations and although there are different models used to evaluate company reputation, the following categories are well recognised: Ethics, Integrity, Quality, Safety, Sustainability, Security, Resilience, Identity, Management Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility. 
 
Reputation can be managed by understanding the risk of any negative events that threaten your customer's trust. Scandals, controversies, accidents, product faults and basically any breach in best practice are negative events that have the potential to destroy company reputation.  
 
Risk Management is where such negative events are anticipated and calculated.  
 
Do you have a "go to" worst-case scenario? Have you ever had a nightmare where your company is on the front page for all the wrong reasons? 
 
Does your company have strategies and policies in place to prevent and manage the risk that your company is exposed to?  
 
Ways to build your company reputation:  
 
  • Build Credibility.  
  • Deliver quality outcomes, under-promise and over-deliver. 
  • Work to your strengths i.e., focus on your niche.
  • Create valuable content and give great value (free eBooks, blogs). 
  • Instigate a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. 
  • Publish articles for your industry periodicals, Linked In. 
  • Join professional societies and be active in your industry.  
  • Showcase your expertise. Upgrade Bio and ensure your skills and all competencies are listed. 
  • Be an active participant in business chambers and networks.
  • Promote achievements and success. 
  • Solicit written and video testimonials from your best clients for all social media platforms.
  • Showcase any company media mentions on an "in the news" web page.
  • Capture photos of you doing what you do best, at business and charity events and behind the scenes post these online.
  • Participate in local and regional business awards.
 
Basically, anything that will showcase the great work you are doing and keep doing it because it will gradually build your company's reputation bank  
 
  • Protect your reputation – know your company's risks 
  • Design and implement strategies and company policies that will manage and minimise as many of your risks as possible.  
  • These may include accidents, scandals, controversy, faulty products, horrendous reviews and industry specific risks. 
  • Be guided by your industry association in regard to strategies and policies.
  • Get legal counsel from a specialist in business and digital law.
  • Insure against risks will be a key part of this plan. Get great advice. 
  • Create policies that provide all employees with clear guidelines for best practice. 
  • Focus on employee welfare and effective HR strategies  
  • Be transparent and honest (authentic) in the face of scrutiny and controversy.  
 
Winning the reputation game is vital for your company to thrive and this has never been truer than now! 
 
Helen Sweeney is a producer at Know My Group. Know My Group uses business relationships, PR and media to introduce new opportunities. Serving any size of business and across most industries, the brands in the Group are Know My Business, Know My Life and newly formed Know My Health. Get in touch to see how we can help you position your company to get introduced to new opportunity. Call 1300 046 876 or email sales@knowmygroup.com. 
 
 
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editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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