No matter how you choose to act, or how small you might like to play things, your business will gain a reputation. But, here’s the thing you need to understand – you have a choice. Do you let your reputation grow naturally, or do you take proactive control over it? There are pros and cons to both. Sometimes, being proactive and suggesting you are the best and most reliable company in your field can backfire if the truth doesn’t match up to reality. Word of mouth can sometimes be the best thing there is for a business. But if you allow your reputation to form with undue criticism or even confusion as to what you’re offering, it might be worth setting things straight by being more forthright with your customers.
Perhaps the best approach is to ask yourself “What do I wish my brand to be known for?”. It’s a question not many ask, despite how important the answer is. Asking this question will help you establish a strong brand reputation. Here are a few things you just might want to consider.
Having a strong ethical foundation is a great place to start. Although it’s no longer in their mission statement, ‘Don’t Be Evil’ was a strong platform Google used to promote itself. If yours is an industry known for mistreatment of its customers or even employees, you’ll want the public to know your company does not stand for that type of behavior.
Many unethical acts, when discovered come with major consequences. Courses such as those offered by Hofstra University can help you learn and understand what is considered unethical business practices and how they can be avoided.
Transparency is important. You never want to appear as if you are hiding something from your customers. If you’ve purchased something from a controversial supplier, let that be known. When customers are not able to reach you because your phone lines are down, don’t just brush over it, apologize. If you’re in partnership with another business and promote their products, you can add a disclaimer. This way you will not be responsible for anything that may come up with their company.
Don’t use great PR to hide any difficulties you may be having. Don’t delete or lock social media comments when receiving criticism. Try to be as front-facing as possible. That will translate to trust. Setting a precedent is important because even one caught deception can put everything else you claim into question, and that’s never a good thing to experience.
Be A Champion
Your business should be a champion of what your business is involved in. For example, if you own a restaurant, you can be a champion of local produce markets and farmers. Educate people on the ingredients you use and the importance of using organic homegrown products. Customers want to see you as a representative of your interests, what you believe in. Let them see the causes and companies you support. Find fun and creative ways to do so and it can also bring you more customers.
Hofstra University, not only offers classes that teach ethics it also strives to create a brand that lives up to what they teach. No matter if your business is just getting started or you have been around for a couple of years, take time to ask yourself what you want your brand to be known for. If you find your company is not in alignment with the brand message you want, it may time to make a few changes. Here’s to YOUR success!
Carolyn R. Owens has over 25 years of proven experience and serves as a Career Strategist, Leadership and Life Coach. She is the Chairwoman and CEO of Infinity Coaching, Inc. where they help you up-level your skills so you can up-level your income. Infinity Coaching, Inc. provides one-on-one and group coaching, organizational training, personality assessments, and a signature program, the Infinity Coaching Inner Circle. Carolyn is certified to give both The Energy Leadership Index Assessment and Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment. You can find out more about both assessments and other products and services at http://www.infinitycoaching.net.