People are never shy when it comes to talking about their consumer experiences, both positive and negative. Word of mouth and social media make it far easier today for those messages to reach a broad audience.
In the case of positive feedback, it is much welcomed. However, in those cases which there is some sort of dispute between a customer and a business, it can become devastating to the reputation of the company.
Unfortunately, too many times business leaders don’t give a whole lot of time or thought to building their brand as a means for protecting themselves in the event there is some “bad press.” Proactively building a brand is like putting dollars away in the bank in case you run into some sort of unanticipated snag. When you have a little savings, chances are you will recover. When you don’t, everything is up in the air.
So how do you proactively build your company brand?
Here are four things you could easily do right away to start building your brand:
- Look for opportunities to get referrals: The best referrals come from customers who have had the opportunity to experience firsthand the product and services you provide. Generally, they are more than happy to give you a referral, but you need to be prepared to ask for it. Make it easy for customers to do by providing links to your social media, giving them templates or even write the referral for them and let them approve it afterwards. A bank of happy customers is worth their weight in gold, but you need to be prepared to ask for it.
- Get involved in community or industry groups: You and your company’s reputation need to be bigger than just the product or service you provide. By getting involved in either community or industry groups, people get to know you and your employees as people. When you take the time to let others get to know you, then it changes how people see you. It puts a person behind the company or the face. When people know you, they give you the benefit of the doubt and often times defend you. People tend to stick up for the people they know and care about; so be that person.
- Promote and applaud the work of others: Everyone likes a cheerleader. If you want people to cheer for your business, then you need to be prepared to cheer for them and their accomplishments. Whether it be customers, suppliers, other businesses or even your competitors, there are always good news stories out there. When you take the time to promote others, then they will do the same in return. If you are on social media, follow their pages, retweet their tweets, share their events, etc. Be the one to take the lead and you will be amazed at the returns you will receive.
- Tell us about you: It is easy to get caught up in the business and forget to share with the world the great things you and your employees are doing. If someone in your company just finished their apprenticeship, tell us about it. If you just added a new piece of equipment, share it. If you just finished a great project, post the pictures. A business is more than just a building or a truck. It is people doing great things. By telling us about those accomplishments, it lets industry see your personality. It makes your business more relatable.
A company’s reputation is every bit as important as the product or service they provide and as such, there needs to be effort and energy put into building it. Oftentimes when we tell business owners, “There needs to be a focus made to do these things,” they tell us they don’t have the time. I counter with, “How do you not?”
Having a strong brand attracts more business, it makes attracting and retaining employees easier and can engage employees in a different way. A strong brand gives back to the community it operates in, brings additional satisfaction and success to all involved with it. Building your brand will always exceed the investment you make in doing so. Now is the time to get started.
Photo courtesy of tomertu/123rf