As a business leader, do you find yourself asking “how can I build my business’s reputation?”. When it comes to building a business’s reputation, there are several factors that can affect how your business is viewed by peers, clients, potential customers and your internal team. Our Junior Account Manager, Abigail, explores how to build a reputation.

What is my reputation?

A brand’s reputation is the key to growth. It won’t matter that you have a fantastic new product or service if your target audience has a negative perception of your brand.

It is becoming increasingly more commonplace for consumers to let factors, such as company values and culture, determine their purchasing decision.

For example, sustainability is becoming a big part of that decision, with more than 30% choosing brands that have environmentally sustainable practices or values over their competitors. This could affect a business negatively if, for example, it had previously been known as a mass consumer of fossil fuels, even if this is no longer the case.

Other factors that can affect a reputation include:

  • Customer perception
  • Financial performance
  • Quality of product or service
  • Customer service
  • Personal profiles of company leaders
  • Community involvement
  • Charity work
  • Eco credentials
  • Quality of website

Examples of brands with historically strong reputations include The LEGO Group and Microsoft. However, a company that is currently experiencing a less than stellar reputation is P&O Ferries – a great example of how internal staffing and financial issues can damage a whole brand’s reputation that may possibly never recover.

Assess your current reputation

The first thing to do when looking at reputation building for your business, is to assess where your reputation is currently.

It will be increasingly difficult to build something if you don’t know what position you are starting from.

Follow the below checklist to assess your current reputational standing:

  • Have you had any negative press, fake news or scandals being talked about in relation to your business?
  • Is any of your work (past, present or future!) of a contentious nature?
  • Do you have any staff grievances that may turn sour?
  • Do you have a good relationship with clients, customers, stakeholders and staff?
  • Is your business in any financial or legal trouble?
  • Does your leadership team have good or bad personal reputations?

It is always worthwhile taking stock of where your reputation is and identifying any potential situations or projects that have the potential to damage your reputation, either internally or with support from a PR agency who can carry out a 360-comms audit. Vice versa, also looking for the key factors, people and projects that can help to enhance your reputation.

How can I build my business’s reputation?

Once you know where your reputation currently sits, you can start to create a strategy to build your reputation, resolve any negative impressions and position your brand correctly to your target audiences. Here’s how you can do it.

Shout about success

You might not be one to brag, but being too humble and never communicating externally, can also affect your reputation. Be proud and vocal about your success and share even the smallest wins.

While your impressive turnover might warrant a press release or a new client win specific outreach to key vertical media, smaller milestones such as staff anniversaries, completed training courses and personal successes make fantastic social media content and help to showcase your brand, values and company culture.

Impressive initiatives

Are you undertaking a tree planting exercise to support climate goals? Are you partnering with a local food bank? Is your team taking part in a charity challenge or undertaking an inclusivity drive?

Shining a light on your initiatives, whether driven by charity, business goals or development, can help to give your audience an insight into your core values. Working with both clients, stakeholders and staff whose values align with your own is key to success, so make sure you highlight your values and beliefs.

Not to mention, spreading the word also helps to get more people involved whether you’re raising money for a good cause or campaigning for change.

People are power

There’s nothing better for your reputation than happy customers who are willing to be vocal about your brand. External endorsement is a valuable asset and can really make or break a reputation. Encourage customers and clients to leave reviews, contribute to a case study or be part of a video testimonial.

It is also worth developing a strategy for responding to negative comments and feedback. It is virtually impossible to run to business without getting one or two negative comments, but it is all about how you handle and resolve complaints.

A company that openly takes on board any grievances and actively tries to resolve them will come across much better than one that ignores these comments or responds aggressively.

There are some simple steps you can take to help enhance your brand’s reputation, including shouting about your successes and improving your customer relations. However, if there are any bigger issues at play that are damaging your reputation, it may be time to consult an expert and see what can be done to rebuild your reputation and manage negative press.