Is your reputation hot or cold? Seven ways to check

Is your reputation hot or cold? Seven ways to check

Claire Walker

Claire Walker

Has the summer heat got you flustered and indecisive? Luckily, Autumn will be setting in soon but given the unpredictable weather we’ve been having have who knows whether we’ll be topping up the tan in t-shirts or cosying up in our jumpers. As we all know from the famous quote by Alfred Wainwright, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.

As the UK is polarised, thinking Brexit is either brilliant, bo****ks or boring, whatever the outcome we are already in and facing a cold economic spell – and it won’t blow over quickly. So with more challenges ahead, are you ready and braced for the Brexit aftermath?

At any time, but especially in uncertain times, a strong brand and a good reputation gives solid ground on which to be successful. It can differentiate your business. It could be the deciding factor in why someone wants to work with you. You need to be known, understood, respected and trusted by your prospects or customers.

Brand vs. reputation

So, what is best to get your business through these uncharted times? A strong brand or a great reputation? These two requirements are often misunderstood. And you need both.

Your reputation is what people say and think about you. It’s the respect you command, the trust you’ve earned. Your brand is what you say about yourself. It’s showing your confidence, stating your conviction – your vision, mission, purpose or values.

For example, if I told you I’m the most incredible piano player, would you believe me?  I’d say yes if you knew me, and probably no if you don’t know me.

Would you believe it if someone else told you I played the piano beautifully? Possibly, since you might presume that they’d heard me play.

The truth is I can’t play the piano. And those who know me also know I would never claim to do something I can’t do. So, my reputation for piano playing is intact; it’s non-existent.

You have to earn people’s trust

Whether wanting to build your brand or enhance your reputation, it’s important to know who your prospects or customers are, what matters to them, who else is competing with you, what you want to say about yourself, and what you can help them with.

You can tell anyone what you like about your brand and your business, but it’s best to make it authentic or it just isn’t believable. On top of this, earning respect and trust is difficult, as you need to convince others to say great things about you. Take a look at Iceland, which gained respect and a reputational boost by pledging to remove palm oil from its products by the end of 2018, only to tarnish its own reputation in January after it was caught out removing its branding from products still containing palm oil, so it could hide that it hadn’t met its target.

We’re in the business of shaping reputations, ensuring companies can perform at their best in the public eye and get the recognition they deserve, and the first part of shaping any reputation has to start with a good look in the mirror to assess where you’re at. With Brexit just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to assess your position and make a plan to fix any issues.

Take a test – and be honest!

Honestly answer these questions below. It will determine if you are set for reputational success, or where you could do with some help to establish trust and respect.

  1. Do you have great relationships with suppliers, partners or influencers? Are enough of these people saying great things about you? Do you know what they are saying?
  2. How are relations with your workforce? Would they willingly and generously say great things about your company? Look on Glassdoor to see the truth.
  3. Do you contribute to your industry or sector in an innovative way, helping with industry growth or success by thinking, looking and doing beyond your own P&L?
  4. Is your business a trusted source of information, maybe helping others, not just your prospects and customers, learn and develop and grow?
  5. Are you running the business responsibly, paying people on time, being respectful with regard to contractual obligations, following best practise or good corporate governance?
  6. Are you giving back in some way, to your social community? Or to the economic development in and around your industry, sector or locality?
  7. Is your business behaving like a good corporate citizen? Everyone is quite rightly concerned about diversity, pay gaps, sustainability, environmental impact, global warming and more. You need to uphold the highest standards and these need to be genuine commitments and actions.

These questions have hopefully helped create a reputation audit for your business and highlighted some useful strengths, weaknesses and improvements points. However, your real reputation – the real truth – is what others say about you. If you think you or your business may need some support in building a stronger reputation, get in touch via hello@fireflycomms.com.

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