Protecting Your Company Reputation 

What’s in a name and reputation for a business? 

The very moment you decided on the name for your business you created a brand. With a brand comes an expectation of a promise, hopefully molded by you. Delivering on the promise, creates your reputation. Having a positive reputation brings repeat business and people who are willing to give you a try. The better your reputation, the
lower the cost of getting new a customer.

People choose their purchase (and even job choice) based on reputation, more than an ad or promotion. A negative review will cause hesitation and more likely, send prospects running.

What steps can a business take to protect its reputation and grow it? 

A business protects their reputation by making sure all staff understand the importance of meeting or exceeding a customer’s expectations. All businesses need to know and deliver the company’s brand promise and how critical it is to the customer experience. 

Another step is to Google your business often and set up a Google Alert so you can follow when your name is mentioned over the Internet. These are great steps toward knowing what is being said. 

To grow your reputation, proactively ask for reviews and send links to your satisfied customers. Make it easy for them to create a positive post on your behalf.

What are the best strategies for reputation management? 

Eighteenth-century writer Samuel Johnson said, “Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.” People have been hard to please since the start of time. When they are not happy, the first thing they do is complain, and in the 21st century, they complain through poor reviews and on social media. Complainers and those who like to sit as judge, will pull down your reputation. 

One of the best ways to build a positive impression is to deliver your product or service correctly the first time. But because we are all human, that is virtually impossible.  

The second-best strategy is to ask for customers to let you be the first to know, so you can make it right. With all due respect, if you’d like those opportunities, let’s be sure to give them to others. 

After these two strategies, you are no longer in an offensive position. You will need to employ your defensive strategies.

What are the key components for reputation management? 

Key defensive strategies that help manage your reputation are to proactively ask for reviews, grow your social media followers, and create company programs designed to build good will and gain repeat business. Focus on creating and maintaining customer relationships. Each of us likes to feel special, and when you use a name and know what they prefer, it sure goes a long way when you have a bad day.

What are the top challenges in reputation management?  

Imagine just not knowing when someone puts out a poor review or not having enough time to respond. Letting bad reviews go unanswered will erode your company. 

Letting bad experiences go, without taking corrective action will also erode your company. Own the poor performances, find out what it takes to make it right and do it, even it’s at a loss. You will gain in the long run.

What are strategies to overcome these challenges?  

You should follow online reviews, set up Google alerts, and respond to social media comments.  

Being a good corporate citizen also goes a long way. You will build positive impressions in people’s minds by connecting yourself to good initiatives, like participating with a charity.  

Sending out press releases, posting about the good you do in social media, and making sure your corporate personality is evident on your website. Don’t talk at people, talk to them in a way that connects. 

If you are a local small business like we are, being involved in business groups, like the Chambers and Rotaries, allows people to gain trust because they get to know you. It comes down to relationships. 

What are some areas of opportunities in reputation management, perhaps that are typically overlooked? 

An overlooked opportunity of reputation building is the way your employees talk about where they work. They should speak with pride about where they work, the people, and its products and services.

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We know your concern for the health of your employees, clients and community. Look to VIA for face masks, gloves, digital thermometers, hand sanitizer and a host of branded items you can use as a thank you.

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It’s Time to Rise to the Occasion

Public relations experts agree, now is not the time to be silent. You have something valuable to share. Whether it’s how you are adjusting access to your products or services, finding ways to help a problem, retooling your factory, or in the B2B world, staying accessible to your clients, people are hungry to learn.

It’s also not a time to put off good communications. Sure, you have a lot on your plate right now, but your audiences are looking to you as a resource. The information highway travels at light speed and you need to get in front of any rumors or assumptions that could harm your enterprise.

Here are a few tips we’ve found helpful to communicate both internally and externally in this time of crisis.

Accurate information. Your website and social media should be the best source of accurate information about how you are responding. If someone has a question during this time, they should be able to find the answer directly from you. For example, I may want to know if you are essential or non-essential during the stay-at-home order and does that mean I can’t buy from you right now? Put out a statement. Monitor frequent questions people are asking and address them publicly.

Keep staff up-to-date. Your team should be the first to know about company modifications as you walk through this fluid coronavirus situation together. Speak to them as you would family, be reassuring that you care, and let them know everyone is trying to do the best they can. Be patient, keep them safe, provide resources and updates as they develop. Keep their minds at rest and let them know your contingency plans.

Manage your customers’ expectations. Businesses are trying to find a balance between keeping workers safe and delivering what customers want. Tell them how the process has changed. Transparency goes a long way. As a customer, I want to know when my purchase will arrive! Think ahead and be prepared to answer questions like:

  • What steps is your company taking to protect employees?
  • What will happen if one of your employees contracts the virus?
  • Will there be any product supply shortages?

Don’t miss an opportunity. The media wants content. They want your story of how you are responding to this challenge in a positive way. Now is the time to send a pitch with a picture. In case you’re thinking this is about profiteering, it’s really not. The motivation is about showing your values and being a good corporate citizen.

Pivot away from hard-sell messages. Shift your media messages away from selling and talk to people. You be the gauge of when it’s time for consoling and when it’s time for laughter. Post a calming photo or a nice song. Be human. Be extra sensitive.

You can listen to the landscape by following these keywords: your brand name, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid19, Corona Virus.

Or hashtags:
#yourbrandname, #coronavirus, #covid19, #CoronavirusOutbreak, #covid2019, #Coronavid19, #flattenthecurve, #socialdistancing, #coronapocalypse, #QuarantineAndChill, #coronavirususa, #HighRiskCovid19, #coronavirusupdates, #stayhomesavelives, #StayHome, #Handwashing, #SafeHands, #HandWashChallenge, #WashYourHands, #coronaviruspandemic and #slowthespread.

Let us know how we can be helpful to you!

Do you have a Google business listing?

Google released some guidelines for businesses affected by COVID-19. Updating your Google My Business profile will provide the latest information to your customers on Google Search and Maps.

Office ear candy

If you are working from home and miss the sounds of the office hustle and bustle, enjoy these YouTube videos of ambient noise: