How To Build Brand Power Through Reputation Management

Lucid Leadership by Rowan B. Colver

Branding is about how people feel and what they think about when they see your business, its logo, its products and services. When a leaflet comes through the door, we see the logo and the brand on display. We tend to associate everything on the leaflet with a perspective that is governed by how we perceive the brand. This means that if we speak absolute truth and essential life-saving information but the logo is a swastika, essentially everyone will dismiss what we say. What makes this happen? Why did we dismiss this life-saving information? Because the swastika has a terrible reputation.

Thankfully we’re not having to iron out the creases left behind by fascists but we do have creases nonetheless. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, and we can guarantee that if we work at anything in the future, we will make more. These things happen. We need to be able to manage this in a professional way that always demonstrates that customer satisfaction is necessary to success. Unhappy people go away with negative views about us and we cannot have this if we can help it. A genuinely positive view is often worth a hundred sales. A negative view can equate to a loss of sales from more than one customer. Bad news travels fast, as we see regularly on social media and the news.

When we begin at anything, we have to rely on theory and guesswork. We make educated guesses and we set out. Unexpected problems can be like rocks on the path. If our head is elsewhere then we might stumble. This means we have to be conscious of the problems that might arise. By setting easy goals we can define the necessary parameters for what constitutes a problem. It will become clear that more problems arise that we didn’t plan for or imagine before they happened. Customers are completely random and what they want can span across an entire spectrum of needs. The most important aspect we have to take care of is feedback.

Being answerable to the customer will ensure that any problems have a direct route to rectification. By putting it right with discretionary changes the customer will feel empowered and valued. Clearly, we cannot give more than a reasonable exchange for the service paid for. There may be times when a complaint expects something that hasn’t been paid for. Other times it’s a genuine issue that we can agree on. In each instance, we have to make an effort to raise the customer’s opinion. A heartfelt apology or a free replacement often suffices. The law still applies, be aware of when someone is trying to break it and never break it yourself. If things become ugly, you don’t have to make the customer feel valued. Just have them removed.

We have to be flexible. Routines and checklists are brilliant most of the time but occasionally there will be instances that require a new method or a different routine. Employees often fear changing their methods, training has to include thinking for yourself. Discretionary actions that fall within given boundaries must be available in order to ensure that customers can make the most out of their exchange.

A lot of us feel nervous around other people. If we are offering a service or product we can be nervous about that too. This combination of anxiety can make it difficult for us to be present and answerable. This has to be overcome however it can be used to our advantage. The nerves we feel are the sensitivities to the customer and by listening to them as an advisor we can create genuine responses to people’s problems and requests. Like a radar, we intuitively know where things could go wrong. Navigate this with hard work.

Brand reputation goes beyond individual sales. Reputation and brand association encompasses the long-term relationship between you and the market. If you are on the marketplace in some form there is a relationship in place. We can warm the room with genuine relationship building. Positive and healthy relationships are mutually responsible, this means we have to do our part in order to benefit the community we are in. A positive outlook on ourselves and those around us is essential for building genuine rapport. The way people feel when around us will ultimately govern what they think about us. When people feel good around us they feel good about us and they will judge positive thoughts about us as validators. We can do this by ensuring that we act and think in responsible and intuitive ways.

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Rowan Blair Colver

Music writer and humanities educator from Sheffield in England. Democracy of philosophy, comments are welcome. ko-fi.com/rowanblaircolver