Here are ten tips for getting it right.
1. Thought Leadership will help the market form an impression of you
Taking the time to contribute to the market with thought provoking ideas that position you as a market ‘thinker’ will ultimately engender the feeling that you are the market ‘leader’, or at the very least, the market ‘mover’ in the eyes of your potential clients.
2. When the going gets tough…
If you’ve really messed up, then now would be a good time to hold your hands up and limit any damage with a positive, but conciliatory comment. If you haven’t messed up and it is clearly a misunderstanding or worse, a falsehood, then now would be a good time to issue statements that unequivocally confirm your position and counter the threat.
3. Make sure you know where all the bodies are buried
This is the time to be really honest with your PR people (under the strictest NDA of course) and let them know everything. Yes everything. Why? Because armed with ALL the details, it IS possible to construct watertight statements that will limit the damage and be effective. To a journalist, or indeed anyone on the outside, ‘No Comment’ could be construed as ‘Write what you want, we don’t care’.
4. Social media can be a scary place
With the right intelligence about what is being said about you, social media is a great place to manage your reputation positively and in a timely manner. Get on top of a story first and take the lead.
5. Don’t sit on the good stuff and make sure you jump all over the bad
Clients who have just said yes to your latest offering are prime to say nice things about you. Get them at the start; get them in the middle and then come back for a positive case study at the end. Get the actions and messaging right here and your reputation could actually be enhanced.
6. Make sure you know who your friends are
Ask the people in any mid-sized organisation what the key messages are, or some basics about the organisation’s messages to the market, and you are likely to get different answers from each – ranging from accurate to wildly off track. Getting your ‘elevator pitch’ sorted and then making sure everyone you deal with both internally and externally knows it and understands it, is key to message success.
7. Don’t be a #fail
Social media campaigns for, or against, your organisation can gain momentum quickly in either direction. Avoiding the ‘#fail’ is a balance of getting the appropriate communication guidelines in place and implementing the mechanisms to ensure timely and accurate outbound messaging and responses, engaging with your audience in a dialogue, rather than a monologue.
8. Get your customers to say nice things about you
It sounds like going back to marketing basics, but it’s simply staggering how many organisations miss the trick of getting other brands with good reputations to say very nice things about them so that their reputation rubs off on your reputation.
9. It’s not a one hit wonder
Start with building on a well thought through plan of reputation management across your organisation and deliver clear direction from the top so that everyone understands the aims and is bought in. Preparation is everything – making sure everyone has a clear script to follow should things turn bad will leave them better prepared and able to execute in the best interests of the entire organisation.
10. The holy grail
It’s often said that maintaining a good reputation is as difficult as building one in the first place But it doesn’t have to be. As long as you take the view that you are always on a journey towards an even better reputation, then the focus is on growth and not on standing still!
Your reputation is perhaps your greatest asset in the business world. Get it wrong and all your hard work can be lost in a moment. Get it right and you will join all those companies that spring to mind when you think of those you know who have a positive presence in their market.
Ashley Carr is Managing Director of Neo PR.
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