If you want your business to thrive, you need to pay attention to your company’s reputation – the sum of all the beliefs and opinions about the company held by its customers, employees, investors, suppliers, and so on. As some high-profile cases have painfully demonstrated, a reputation that’s taken years to build can be lost in seconds.
Being proactive, not just reactive
Take Facebook as an example. In the wake of 2018’s data misuse and fake news scandals, the company announced its slowest ever user growth rate in July 2018. Or how about the backlash after United Airlines was filmed unceremoniously dragging a passenger from his seat on an overbooked flight?
We know that sometimes things go wrong and a company needs to swing into damage-limitation mode. But good reputation management means looking after your reputation even when things are going smoothly. It’s a bit like a houseplant in that respect – feed it, nurture it and watch it grow!
Researching and managing your reputation
How can you understand, protect and nurture your business’s reputation? A key part of the answer lies in good research. Research will tell you what people make of your company. Research will highlight when that perception shifts. And research will tell you what you can do better.
Here are five ways to nurture your reputation using simple research techniques:
- Listen. Look at what people are saying about your company. For example, social media tools like Hootsuite allow you to automatically monitor mentions of your brand or product.
- Analyse. It’s not all about how many followers, likes or mentions you have. It’s the underlying sentiment that matters, i.e. whether people are thinking (and saying) positive, negative or neutral things about your brand.
- Mind the gaps. Key to reputation management is understanding where the gaps lie between how you would like the brand to be perceived and what people actually think.
- Engage. Take time to actively engage with people by asking for feedback and addressing their concerns openly.
- Use insights well. This should be a 360-degree process, so use what you learn from your reputation research to update your brand strategy and future messaging.
The reality is that many businesses don’t have time to proactively research and manage their reputation. That’s where OCTOPUS can help. Learn how good research can help your business – and your bottom line – grow.