A brand’s reputation is its lifeblood. In the highly politicized, constantly digitized and online society of today, it becomes more and more possible that negative opinions can damage a business permanently. It is essential to guard your reputation carefully. Here are some measures you can take to do just that.
The first thing you can do is proactively create a positive narrative. This will come into being by encouraging pleased customers to leave positive reviews. It can also be spread in subtle ways, like through how you market and represent your brand. For example, the grocery chain Trader Joe’s has created a brand that represents organic, delicious, and diverse food, that supports environmental conservation and so on. You can create similar narratives with your brand’s image, through customer policies, and aesthetic elements (either online or in person) that reflect that narrative.
Avoid Negative Attention
As obvious as this one might seem, it has never been easier to get your company roped into controversy. First of all, following GARM standards can help your brand stay away from controversy. GARM (Global Alliance for Responsible Media) strives to avoid representations or references to problematic and harmful content. You can also avoid posting about or openly supporting causes that could be seen as political, since you could potentially alienate or anger one-half of your potential customers. Be careful to deal with customer reviews or accusations of inappropriate conduct by keeping careful records and training employees. Have protocols in place for such occurrences. Prevention really is the best cure.
Be an Upstanding Business
While it is true that sometimes controversy is unavoidable, the fact is that those occasions are rare. Most controversy is entirely avoidable, and it is best avoided by being responsible and honest. Predict possible problems that could crop up and do your best to provide your customers and employees with the safe environment that they deserve. If or when something does happen that could damage your reputation, honestly assess how much of the event was the fault of the business. Make conscious and public effort to make effective changes in whatever system you need to in order to make things better. Use social media (and any other brand-related interface) to uplift and build rather than tear down.
A reputation should be robust and positive, but it should also be built on good policies and honest dealings. While it may be tempting to take financial or logistical shortcuts to save money or time, you might regret such decisions later on. Make sure to build and maintain a good reputation that will last for years to come!
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