Building up a good reputation for your company takes a long time and plenty of hard work. But it only takes a bad moment with a customer or a simple mistake one day to, potentially, trash all that work and tarnish your image.
That said when you are a company with a bad rep, at least people know who you are and you have a presence. It’s certainly marginally better than having no reputation at all, which effectively says that you do not exist.
So, it’s clear your business needs a reputation. But why, exactly, is is important, and what value can it provide for your company? We’re going to explore some of the biggest reasons why you need to pursue a positive image for your business and work hard to avoid attracting negative press. Let’s get started right away.
It engages people
Having any kind of reputation informs people of how to behave when they approach your company. For example, if you have had a rough time of it in the press, or have made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, people will engage with your business from a slightly suspicious standpoint. However, with a positive reputation, people think very differently. By the time they come and visit your store or pick up the phone to talk about your service, they already have an idea about how you can help. It makes your life a lot easier when you don’t keep having to prove yourself every time you speak to a new prospect.
It’s social proof
A sound business reputation reverberates everywhere, and this is vital given that your rep is not 100 percent under your control. The more people that like, respect, and would recommend your business, the more social proof you have that a negative review or an online slur might be mistaken. You can’t stop people saying bad things about your company; you can only respond to them and put processes and systems in place to prevent them from happening in the first place. There’s a reasonable amount you can do to fix damaged online image issues, of course or repair relationships with angry customers. However, if your reputation and image are already of high stock, the occasional glitch isn’t going to affect you too much. A negative review in a sea of others singing your praises isn’t the social proof that people need to see before choosing another company to work with.
It results in word of mouth marketing
Businesses with excellent reputations enjoy far more word of mouth recommendations than those without – it’s that simple. And, as everyone should know, despite all the modern marketing techniques that appear on an almost daily basis, it’s still the good old fashioned word of mouth that is by far and away the most effective. And the stats back this idea up – almost three-quarters of all consumers identify word of mouth as the primary motivator for making purchasing decisions. The stats are even higher if you are selling B2B – nine out of ten business customers are influenced by word of mouth. So, if you are struggling to make an impact with your marketing, consider how you can start improving your reputation – it could be more worthwhile than you think.
It creates an excellent company culture
People take pride in working for organizations that are seen as ‘one of the good guys.’ Not only that but to keep your reputation improving, you’ll need to educate and inform your employees. That means staff will get the opportunity to enjoy self-development and be encouraged to learn in the work environment – which are big pulls when it comes to hiring talent. Finally, a good reputation encourages people always to do their best, whether dealing with customers or working on projects. No one wants to be the guy who lets everyone else down, and it’s a great tool for motivating people, and will strengthen your business.
It’s differentiation from the competition
Consumers are making increasingly informed decisions about the companies they use to buy products these days. So, it’s never been more critical for businesses to ensure they have a good reputation across a broad range of fields. Customer service is the obvious starting point – and is, undeniably, essential. However, consider other areas of your business, too. For example, having a reputation as the greenest company in your industry sector can bring many advantages. When given a choice between you and an energy guzzling rival company, many consumers will vote with their morals and ethics. It won’t damage you, either. While a consumer will choose an eco-friendly company over one with a poor environmental record, there will be no consumers actively choosing them just because they don’t believe in global warming.
You can charge a premium
Once you develop an excellent reputation for your business, you will be seen as the leading light in your industry. And once you reach that level of greatness, you will tend to find people are happy to pay more for your products and services. Think of all the successful businesses out there who’s reputation from quality allows them to charge extra just for using their brand name. Apple is an obvious example, as are the likes of Range Rover from the car industry. Why do people do this? It’s simple, really. Consumers, just like investors, are always willing to pay more for a lower amount of risk. And if your products and services have a reputation for being first-class, you can start to charge your customers accordingly.
It’s not just about customers
While gaining new customers is the ultimate goal of developing a fantastic business reputation, there are other ways it can benefit your company. We’ve discussed the impact it can have on the quality of the employees you hire above – but think about suppliers, partners, and service providers, too. Your good name is something they want a piece of, too. It’s why when you see business websites they are so keen to ensure their audience knows they are working with famous companies – a marketing firm will always tell you their biggest clients, for example. Suppliers will be keen to attract your business, too. Reputable companies are less of a risk for providers to work with, are more stable, and result in long-term contracts. Association by name is a major attraction for any business, and if you improve your reputation, you’ll find that suppliers, potential partners, and service providers will be beating a path towards working with you. And, often you will find they are willing to negotiate a better price for you if you give them the pleasure.
It creates opportunities
Finally, the faster you start working on improving your business reputation, the quicker you will begin to find new opportunities. Being good at what you do means more good things happen to you – it’s as simple as that. The more people that like your business, the more people will be spreading the word. It starts a chain of events that results in new customers, who then go on to champion your business to others, and so on. Without that positive image, however, it’s going to be incredibly tough for you to achieve your goals. You’ll have to spend more on marketing, take more time to repair angry customer relationships, and it’s just going to be tough to plan events and campaigns that can actually make a big difference to your business’s future.
As you can see, it is incredibly important to ensure your company enjoys an excellent reputation. The earlier you get started, the better, too. A good reputation facilitates growth in almost every single business area, helps you save money, and gives you time to focus on making your company even greater than it was before. Good luck!