Business reputation is fragile.
Both internal and external factors can influence business reputation, meaning it can be challenging to maintain or rebuild business reputation. Often, it is a careful balancing act and, sometimes, a case of ‘trial and error’.
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent recession, all businesses have been affected. Businesses large and small have been subject to intense surveillance and constant judgement. As a result, to stay under the radar, some businesses have chosen to remain quiet. This could be out of fear of intense judgement, or simply because they are not sure how to best communicate at this time.
Each and every business has been impacted in some way, with some shining and receiving praise for their response to the pandemic, such as Timpson. However, others have suffered substantial damage to their reputation.
The importance of business reputation
Developing and preserving a positive reputation for your business means you can attract customers and keep them coming back. This creates trust in your brand and promotes customer loyalty and repeat business, which are essential for sustained business growth and success.
A recent study conducted by the International Review of Economics & Finance has found trust to be a vital element in business growth and turnover. Just like people, businesses develop relationships based on trust and reputation. Ultimately, the study found that a business’ financial position is heavily influenced by its reputation.
Your services or products may be of the highest quality, but, fundamentally, your brand will only ever be as good as your reputation.
The steps you can take to rebuild business reputation
After an internal crisis or pause in your communications activity, here are some simple steps you can take to rebuild business reputation:
1. Review your brand’s ‘DNA’ – your ‘DNA’ – vision, mission and values – is what make you unique and different to your competitors. It helps you to stand out across the world. By clearly articulating your ‘DNA’ (brand position, customer value proposition or competitive advantage), your customers and prospects can better understand your business, making it more likely for them to engage.
2. Be consistent in your messaging – your DNA should act as the basis of your messaging. This messaging should run like a golden thread across all of your communications to convey a consistent tone of voice. This will help to develop trust and credibility in your brand.
3. Create a plan – once you have determined your DNA and messages, you can generate a communications plan. The plan should include information about your target audiences, define measurable objectives and detail the steps you need to follow to achieve these objectives. A communications plan can help you to consistently communicate and convey that you are still open for business.
4. Share testimonials and case studies – by sharing testimonials and case studies, you can show potential customers how your previous customers have enjoyed working with you. This will enhance the probability of prospects trusting your ability and wanting to work with you themselves. Testimonials and case studies can be amplified across your website, social media or even in key industry outlets.
5. Develop a recovery plan – in football, the best form of defence is offence. The same can be said be rebuilding business reputation. Developing a recovery or crisis management plan allows you to better manage risk, minimises the chance of any issues developing into a crisis and allows you to easily stabilise your business should a problem – external or internal, occur.