You will often hear it said that at the heart of every business is its reputation. Entrepreneur Richard Branson further backs this up stating that “your brand name is only as good as your reputation”.
Whilst reputation is an intangible and complex concept, evidence has suggested that a good reputation can increase credibility, provide sustained competitive advantage and ultimately win business.
Reputation management can encompass many elements, including branding, public relations, crisis management and much more. In a competitive industry, reputation is a company’s biggest asset and it can make or break them.
An organisation cannot necessarily control its reputation but by operating in a sound and ethical manner, it can help to influence customer perceptions. Research has shown that 70 – 80% of market value comes from hard-to-assess assets such as brand equity and goodwill.
After all, Benjamin Franklin did say, ‘It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it’.
What does public mean exactly?
The public in terms of PR involves anyone that ever has or will form an opinion about your organisation. Depending on the nature of your work this could be your customers, potential clients, fans, members, employees, the list is endless.
Therefore it is important to ensure you have an individual or a team on board who are experts in handling an organisations “public”. A designated PR professional is much more than a press release factory, chugging out positive news stories about your business on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. They are often the public face of your company, managing relationships and cultivating outreach strategies.
Media relations also play a significant role in the practice of public relations. With the development of the mass media, came the rise of public relations. PR is no longer just about writing a killer press release.
How can positive PR impact on your marketing efforts?
People’s perceptions about your company are ultimately what drives their buying decisions. How often do you buy into a brand that you don’t like or with whose values you disagree with? That’s right, never.
The more favourable your customer’s opinion of you, the more likely you are to acquire and retain them as customers. How do we shape customer opinions of you? Through careful planning and implementation of PR tactics.
PR runs through many of your daily business activities; from daily operations through to marketing activities such as social media, advertising, and events. It is these practices that have an influence on the public’s perception of your company.
Get your PR strategy aligned with the rest of your business and you will be on to a winner!
How do you build and maintain your reputation?
Being well regarded by stakeholders makes it much easier for a business to fulfill objectives, recruit talented staff, build brand loyalty and build a strong future in which to operate.
Planning is the answer to ensuring you are conveying the right messages and building yourself a positive reputation. It is, therefore, vital that a business has clear and concise brand values that all employees are aware of and by having plans in place for conveying these values, you have full control over the consistent and structured messages being communicated.
Another component of planning entails being prepared should any unexpected (or expected) issues arise. When planning your strategy, crisis management should be at the very core to ensure potential damage to the brand or business is mitigated. The skillful handling of a major issue will maintain a businesses reputation and protect the organisation’s future ability to operate.
It is astounding how many companies are unaware of the recommended guidelines surrounding dealing with a crisis, particularly online. In the age of instantaneous communication, it is easier than ever to connect with your consumers, which usually makes a complaint process easier to deal with and resolve.
This is something that American airline, Jet Blue Airways took advantage of when a frustrated passenger took to Twitter regarding a delayed flight.
The passenger received a response within an hour from Jet Blue and they didn’t just apologise for the delay, they showed commitment to resolving the issue and providing their customer with as much information as possible.
If their crisis communication strategy was not in place and did not take effect so quickly, this one tweet could easily have spiraled into further negative online discussion between passengers. Something that can wreak havoc on company reputation.
Do you want to get your business heard but don’t have a PR professional to look after all your PR needs?
Fear not, we have some tips to get you started…
- An interesting image, strong headline, and a captivating opening sentence is key to creating an effective press release.
- The first paragraph should always include the who, what, when, where and why. (How is also a good one to consider!)
- Quotes from someone within your business are imperative for backing up your story. Even better if you can get a customer to corroborate your story too.
- In a world where attention spans last a mere 3 minutes, it is increasingly important to put yourself in the media’s shoes. If the story’s not interesting to you, it’s probably not interesting to the journalist you’re sending it to.
If you’ve read all that but you would like help writing your next compelling news story, get in touch with us to talk about your marketing and PR requirements and we will be more than happy to help!