David Beckham is not having the best couple of weeks is he?
Stories in the Press arising from the alleged hacking and publication of emails to his PR agent are said to be damaging “Brand Beckham.”
Whilst most of us don’t have Victoria and David’s reported £280 million net worth, or David’s dashing good looks, we do all have something very precious in common.
Our reputation is our brand
As individuals, we all have a personal brand which, simply put, is our reputation. When our brand or reputation is damaged, the financial and emotional impact can be life-changing.
We can influence the way people perceive us and we can try and earn a good reputation with people that matter to us.
- We can make sure we’re always well-presented and dressed appropriately
- We can be polite and respectful to people we meet
- We can apply ourselves diligently in the work we do to deliver what’s asked of us
- We can show empathy, tolerance and support to earn the trust of those around us
The reputation frauds
Some people cultivate a reputation or public brand designed to fool us and hide what they’re really like and we feel betrayed when the truth is revealed.
We can all think of some high-profile personalities who fall into this category and we can probably all think of people we’ve met who haven’t lived up to our previously held beliefs.
Sadly, there will always be conmen and women.
They’re responsible for the cynicism and mistrust we’ve all developed towards the media and other people. A healthy level of cynicism protects us from being brain-washed and easily mislead but it also means we all have to work even harder to earn a good reputation.
Protecting our reputation
If we’ve worked hard to earn a good reputation, we have given ourselves a much better chance of keeping it if we mess up – and we’ll all mess up at some point because we’re human.
People will usually give us the benefit of the doubt if, at some point, we don’t meet the high standards we’ve asked people to expect of us. Mistakes happen and can be forgiven (but not over and over again!).
Will David’s good reputation survive?
Whether you like and admire David Beckham or not, before the email scandal, he enjoyed an excellent reputation which he and his team have worked hard for years to cultivate.
You could argue that David’s current difficulties are not his fault – his emails were hacked and published and he had no control over that. True, but if he did write the emails, their content and tone are not in line with our perceptions of the man.
Throw in the alleged criticism of the Monarchy who ultimately give out Knighthoods and you can see why so many people are left with a bad taste in their mouths.
On David’s side is our shared distaste for hackers who intrude illegally and ruthlessly into people’s private lives.
By working hard (and paying people) to earn himself a good reputation over the last 15 years, David has built up an impressive amount of good reputational “stock.”
Brand Beckham probably has enough stock to survive these problems without going into the red where there is universal distrust and dislike of the Beckhams. Team Beckham will already be working hard to replace lost reputational stock for future use!
How does this relate to my business?
Like the Beckhams, your business has a brand – whether you spend time and effort to create good reputational stock or not.
Successful business people know the importance of a good reputation and work hard to create a strong brand for their company that will earn trust and loyalty among its customers and hopefully protect them when a storm blows in.
How do you build a strong company brand?
In exactly the same way we create good personal reputations.
- Make sure our business is always well-presented to the outside world. Our visual branding needs to make a good impression. That means a professional website, an attractive and eye-catching logo, high quality business cards and clean and tidy employees and vehicles.
- We’re always polite and respectful. We treat our customers well and respond quickly to enquiries and comments and our company vehicles are being well-driven!
- We apply ourselves diligently and deliver what’s being paid for. Our products and services are top quality, meet customer expectations and we take care of the details in our work.
- We show empathy to earn trust. We always put ourselves in the customer’s shoes, validate their opinions and put things right quickly.
When things go wrong
If you have worked hard to create a strong brand for your company that makes people feel positive about using you, you’ll have a good amount of reputational “stock.”
We are our business and we will make mistakes because we’re all human.
Putting things right quickly will mean losing less of your stock and limiting the damage.
Do it in public
In today’s world, our customers are just as likely to say we’ve disappointed or angered them by telling the whole world via social media or online reviews.
It’s not always fair and it hurts like Hell but it is what it is.
Responding calmly and offering apologies and solutions in the same public arena can go a very long way to preserve your reputational stock so that your business lives to fight another day. Do it right and you might even increase your stock.
Brand it like Beckham!
Build up your company’s reserves of good reputational stock.
As well as offering some protection when things go wrong, it will help you win more customers.
Spend time every day checking you’re doing the best you can to build a strong brand for your business that will earn trust and loyalty from your customers.
- Respond to customer emails, phone calls and complaints promptly.
- Deliver excellent customer service every day – motivate your employees to do the same.
- Review your company branding – does your business look professional to the outside world or does it need a makeover?
- Clean your company van!
- Walk the talk! Make sure you live up to the values you have asked customers to put their trust in.
Brandabble provides affordable, professionally-designed websites, logos and brochures to help start-ups and small businesses to stand out and win new business.
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