Building a business is a multifarious effort. Running a business requires more than just business acumen; as a leader, you need to not only manage your business’ internal growth and development, but also its development in the public eye – or, its reputation. Reputation is vital for building an engaged customer base, but how can you build and maintain one?
Positive customer experiences are the bread and butter of any positive brand reputation. Word-of-mouth marketing is often the most powerful form of marketing, as it is an organic manner in which customers enthusiastically recommend a product or service to one another and, statistically, a robust growth strategy.
You can, to some extent, weaponise the power of word-of-mouth testimony by encouraging more public testimony of your business. This could be achieved through offering clients and customers a small discount on future purchases in return for leaving an honest review on your website or social media platform.
Branding and Image
Of course, your business’ overall image is a key aspect to its reputational success as well. A well-designed and cohesive brand image can help your business sell itself as a dedicated and professional one, while an active social media presence can ensure prospective and existing customers alike see your brand’s values.
As well as offering a quality product with a smooth customer service experience, extolling your brand’s virtues can go a long way to winning new customers and improving overall reputation. For example, sustainability is becoming a more pressing issue amongst younger demographics owing to the growing climate crisis; signalling your sustainability efforts could stand you in good stead here.
Managing PR Issues – Publicly and Privately
All of the above have a significant and combined impact on your ability as a business to weather storm – in particular, PR storms which can have a disastrous impact on unprepared businesses. A negative customer experience or item of poor press is, unfortunately, simply a matter of time for any business in the public eye. It is incumbent on you as its leader to manage these issues as they come, in as gracious and accommodating a way as possible.
One of the first things you can do to help your business in this regard is to purchase public liability insurance. Whether you are a venue or provide a direct service, there may be instances in which a client or customer finds you responsible for a personal injury or property damage – in which cases, public liability insurance can ensure your business is financially covered.
Many negative experiences or PR matters can be solved privately, with an active approach to customer service and a willingness to open dialogue. Offering the remedial action through the right channels can satisfy customers with negative experiences, and nip emerging stories in the bud. For more public matters, an open approach and a commitment to reform can ensure your business is seen in the best possible light.