Our actions + what others say about us = our reputation. This playful calculation is the most powerful formula we will ever have in life – and as a secondary effect – in business. This has nothing to do with the external validation of obsessing about what others think or believe about us. On the contrary, it is about being aware of our own unique gifts and value that can be offered to the world – and then focusing on giving that value to the people and businesses that need it – and are ready to appreciate it – the most! The return is simply positive word of mouth and – money! This is how humanity evolved for the past 10.000 years. And in a very similar way – Brand Equity!
However, in the last 9.900 years communication and speed of information transfer has been extremely limited. Today, reputation can be built exponentially faster but also be damaged exponentially even speedier than that. Companies need to build momentum and offer value consistently. They can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes or be public with customer concerns. And this goes both ways – online and offline. The discussion here is not merely the proper and smart use of social media but the overall manifestation of a company in this hybrid world of online and offline touch points.
Being reputable can distinguish one professional from the next or influence customers and personnel to come or not to come to your door – physically or virtually speaking. The only thing for sure is that building a good reputation (or Brand Equity) as an individual or a company takes a long time and consistent effort. Brand Equity can affect team morale, customer quality base, growth and profits. In this highly competitive landscape, the reputation of a company can be decisive for its existence. It is therefore imperative to shape and manage a company’s brand and linked reputation endlessly, and there are many opportunities to do this. Some of them are listed here:
- Own your integrity: In fact this is the foundation of everything else. In Business theoretically minor acts of egoism, greed or jealousy can (and will) eventually work against your brand and your integrity. It’s really the small things that matter subconsciously.
- Help others reach their goals: A mind-set of helping goes a long way in building trust and a positive effect on people’s minds and hearts. Does one of your clients need something extra to accomplish an important mission – help them out – the long term effect is critical.
- Make others look good: We need to make sure that the people who work for us as well as our clients look great! By making the referring party look great our reputation continues to grow in the eyes of that party as well as any forward referral.
- Always Deliver: When we promise something – we need to deliver. The building blocks of credibility are composed by delivering what you say you will. We trust people and businesses who deliver what they promise – we also recommend them when they do this consistently.
- Stay Open to Ideas: For growth, fluid mind-sets and flexible businesses are more able to adapt or capitalize on new trends and opportunities. Challenging the norms embedded in a business mind-set can be critical to its performance horizon and capabilities.
A company’s or a person’s reputation pretty much always precedes them. If they are genuine and take responsibility they don’t have to sell themselves or brag, because clients or media will be doing it for them. The fact is that there is always a direct cost when telling the truth, but even when faced with consequences, say it anyway. There is no greater long term value than a positive reputation that enhances Brand Equity, as it will open doors that would otherwise stay closed. So stay likeable without forging who you are – as an individual –as a leader – and as a brand.