Spoiler alert: you're going to need to walk the walk, talk the talk, and do this again and again and again. You must unapologetically be yourself (your brand), consistently.
What is Brand Reputation?
Brand reputation is what customers, employees, and the public at large think of your company. In short: the characteristics that people associate in their minds about your business. The way your business "seems" to them.
Is it positive? Negative? A mix? Uncertain? Associated with any specific sentiments or feelings?
Building Reputation with Employees
Employees are the equivalent of people who have had the same cellphone provider for some time (fun fact: I sold cellphones for years through high school and university - it was a blast).
Why? Because they know better than anyone else how a company operates on a day-to-day basis: not just on paper or on social media.
Building a reputation with employees is something that takes time, but that time frame gets a lot shorter once those employees become advocates.
At FlexDealer, I've spent 7 years getting to know our CEO. As time progressed, I became a believer in this safe, awesome, and growth-driven environment. I've been supported at various crazy moments in my life; like accidentally turning up to work two days late because I had to drive across the country with my 3 y/o (thanks, Air Canada), or when our son tried to arrive almost two months early and my wife was in the hospital for weeks! I was treated with humanity and Flexibility. I've lived the company's core values in action.
Buildnig that reputation of authenticity with your employees comes from proof and exposure. Again and again.
Building Reputation with Customers
Your existing customers know second-best how your company operates on a day-to-day basis. They're the ones paying you for your product/services, and they have an expectation of your brand based on a collection of experiences that they've had with you.
Without digging too much into customer loyalty, I want to talk about how we can build your brand up positively with your customers. It's insanely simple:
Do what you say you will, do it right, and do it on time.
Again and again: show up for your customers.
If you do that, you will command respect, authority, transparency, and dependability.
Whatever feelings you want them to associate with you: show them how you live them. Prove it.
Building Reputation with the Public & Those Outside Your Business
This is the most difficult group to build a reputation with, because they're not "obligated" to interact with your brand.
We've recently been hiring and onboarding new team members and I received the below message from a candidate that we did not hire, but would like to consider for another role:
Across several conversations with this person, they were able to feel our authenticity.
How does she know we treat our customers like real, unique humans? Likely because I shared about how we choose customized gifts for every client each holiday season based on their interests.
How does she know family is important? Michael's daughter brought him a smoothie on the call and we all waved like goofballs. We talked about how it's normal and totally okay to need to do valuable things like pick your kids up from school.
We were honest in communicating: both ways.
Stop playing games: show people what you're about. They'll get it.
If you try to show them something else, they'll get that too, and they might not like it as much.
Want help building a brand strategy, then taking it to market? Let's chat.