Company Reputation – Why It’s Important & How To Improve It
Running a business doesn’t promise success overnight. Launching your own business and keeping it afloat isn’t as simple as just selling products to people in return for money. There’s so much more to it than meets the eye. From bringing in a staff force to evaluating customer retention, all the different tasks and processes of launching a business vary greatly. Taking steps to improve your company reputation are key.
An important part of keeping a business afloat is continually improving company image and reputation. How your business is viewed and perceived by outsiders (such as potential customers, stakeholders etc) can sometimes make or break a company.
In this article, we take a look at why image and reputation are important to companies, as well as ways it can be improved and the benefits of having a positive reputation.
What exactly is company image and reputation?
To put it simply, company image and reputation is the way how businesses are viewed by outsiders. By outsiders, this can mean anyone such as other companies, potential client or even the media. No matter how big or small a company is – reputation is important. A good reputation can help your company flourish and grow, and is also a stepping stone to recruiting customers. And the company image doesn’t just stop with the boss. Every person or employee within companies are faces of the business. Whether someone talks to customers over the phone or attends client meetings – they are all part of the business. Each employee of a business is important in different ways, but each person represents that company’s image and reputation.
The importance of company image and reputation in business
Have you ever heard the age-old saying that a reputation can take years to build but only moments to destroy? That saying alone sums up how important image and reputation are in business. A good reputation can do wonders for your business, whereas a bad one can be almost catastrophic. The problem is that it can be quite easy to maintain a great reputation by doing the right thing. However, a bad reputation or bad risk can spread very easily.
The image and reputation of businesses refer to how a brand is perceived by others – and this includes potential customers. Often having a good image can make or break a customer’s decision to buy from or invest in a brand. This is especially prominent in this day and age when most consumers rely on corporations to be socially responsible. In a world where we have the internet at our fingertips every hour, if a company is not shown to conducting itself in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, people know instantly. It can take just seconds for its reputation to be destroyed by a tweet or viral video, for example.
So although having a good reputation is great, the fall out from having a negative image can be much worse.
The benefits of a good reputation
As well as the obvious, there are numerous benefits of companies having a good reputation.
First of all, it means your employees will be much more loyal: if an employee works for a company that is not only socially responsible but looks after its staff too – and shares their values – they’re more likely to stick around in the long run.
A brand with a good reputation will also find that they are viewed as more trustworthy to consumers, whether that’s people they engage with regularly or just online.
This ties into potential employees too. If a company is known to have a good image, it will attract hardworking and professional employees – which will, in turn, benefit the business back.
Finally, consumers may be more forgiving towards a business that has always done the right thing. Unfortunately, mistakes do happen and such mistakes can be catastrophic in our world of ‘cancel culture’. But if a brand makes a one-off mistake – and owns up to it – it’s more likely to recover for such a mistake – especially compared to businesses with a terrible reputation.
How to improve the reputation and image of a business with Reputation Management Strategies
You now know how important company reputation is and the benefit’s of having a good image: but what are some effective reputation management examples?
Simply put, a company just needs to do the right thing:
- Have strong values and stick to them. If brands claim to be an advocate of having environmental responsibility but their products use lots of unsustainable packaging – something doesn’t add up. It’s your responsibility to re-visit your brand values often, take action and ensure you’re doing what they say. These values are not just there for show and will help people trust in your brand more too.
- Keep your promises. Leading on from the last point, a company must keep its promises. This means don’t jump on the bandwagon of things like environmental responsibility if you’re not going to follow through. Unfortunately, many brands from different markets feel bullied into making statements when it comes to important matters like racism or sustainability – but after making a promise, never do much more. If you claim that you’re going to educate your staff on racism issues, you need to go ahead and do it – and not just post about it on social media.
- Show up for your customer. As well as good customer service, you want your customers to feel valued. Support everyone you interact with, stand up for their values and be consistent about it too. People are very likely to show customer loyalty and share their experiences – whether your actions are good or bad – so you need to consistently treat them with respect. Hopefully, this will lead to plenty of positive reviews!
These are some examples of how you can grow and maintain a decent reputation for your brand – but you should do further research into this subject to take responsibility for your reputation.
How SEO can help to improve a company’s value and Online Reputation Management
With much of a brand’s reputation and responsibility riding on its online presence, one such way to improve value is through the use of online reviews. As well as representing the brand well on social media channels, a company can also try to improve its public standing through reviews and recomendations – or invest in companies to help them. Ranking high on Google is a great way to improve reputation among markets and be seen as trustworthy. Companies can do this by using high-value keywords in their articles, engaging regularly with their audience, building plenty of backlinks and ensuring there are google reviews for the World to see.
How a business reputation can be damaged
The reputation of a business and its services can be damaged very quickly through the use of social media. It’s one of the reason’s why maintaining a positive business reputation is so important – thanks to how easily a business can slip up.
The misuse of social media is one way for companies reputations to be damaged by an employee or customer. An employee could very easily tweet something that was meant for their own account. Or, re-share a statement that, with a second glance, goes against everything the company stands for.
It’s also very easy for a customer to go online and share negative reviews or false stories. That’s why it’s always important to treat people well – even if they are wrong. A simple accidental misuse of a degrading word can be shared to millions of people online in just moments. So you should always remember to treat your clients and consumers with respect.
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s out of a brand’s hands entirely too. Things like changing trends in the industry can result in a company losing out on money and customers overnight. This can also have a negative impact on a business’s reputation.
That’s why it’s important to maintain a good reputation at all Times. Sometimes these things happen, but if a company has always been perceived well by its peers, it can easily recover.
Examples of company reputation being damaged
There are many examples of a brand’s reputation being damaged, especially thanks to brand loyalty and the use of social media these days.
One such case is when budget airline Ryanair failed to step up when failing to remove a racist passenger from one of their flights in 2018. It was only when the footage surfaced online that the brand issued a brief apology on Twitter. However, by then campaigners were already trying to boycott the airline, with #ryanairracist trending on Twitter.
It’s a simple example of how easily the brand could have avoided the negativity. If they’d owned up and taken responsibility first, admitted their mistake and apologized it may not have been so bad.
Another – very different – example of reputational damage is that of Fyre Festival – the event of all events! The luxury music festival/event was backed and promoted by many artists/social media influencers around the world – many of which had excellent reputations of their own! However, the festival turned out to be such a disaster that it is still regularly referred to in popular culture today. Everyone remembers the images of that festival food! In this case, the founder – Billy McFarland – never quite recovered. He is currently serving six years in federal prison for wire fraud relating to the festival. The fall out of the festival also created issues for those who invested in the festival and Bahamian workers.
To learn more about this case – and take tips on companies reputations – you can watch a documentary about the festival. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is available on Netflix.
Basically: the reputation and image of a company are very important and are a big responsibility for business owners. You can invest as much time and money into a company if you want, but if it’s got a bad reputation, it’s unlikely to do well. Having good images means your profits will soar and you will stand out amongst your competitors. Especially if your competitors have a bad reputation themselves! A good reputation reaps many benefits from reoccurring relationships (customer loyalty) and trust, to employee satisfaction.
We have also taken a look at just how easily and quickly a reputation can go from good to bad – often in an instant thanks to social media – and why it’s important to invest in Online Reputation Management Some of the examples shared will hopefully encourage your brand to stay consistent, stick behind its values and show up for your customers. These are just a few ways in which you can build – and maintain – a good reputation.
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