Your UK Business Reputation: 5 Steps for Building and Branding Your Company
As we have seen in a few notable cases over the last year, corporate reputation can have a huge effect on a company’s health. In order to win customers, you have to gain their confidence and continue to win them over every time they choose your business. However, many small businesses are confused about how to proactively build a reputation that will lead to success. Here are five tips to get you started.
Know your audience.
Every person has a unique set of values, and your customers are no different. What appeals to any given group may not appeal to the people you are trying to reach. Therefore, your first step in building a reputation is to identify what kind of reputation will appeal to your core customer base. This may not require intense research, especially if you are a small business owner who is a member of the community in question.
Know the competition.
Your customers are likely getting your products and services, or ones similar to them, from another business. You need to know who these businesses are, why your customers choose them, and then offer something even better. More important, you should examine exactly what about that business’s reputation is appealing to your customers. See what their strengths and weaknesses might be. From here, you can plan how to make your reputation a little different and a little more appealing.
Develop a plan.
Once you have an idea of what your reputation should be, you must develop a plan for building this reputation. It is not enough to simply ‘be’ reliable, trustworthy, high quality, or any of the other qualities you have identified. You must show your community and your customer base. Make a plan for being more visible in a positive way, whether it is through community involvement, social networking, or a combination of these things. If you are having trouble identifying concrete and measurable ways to build your desired reputation, talk to a branding consultant.
Develop a means of monitoring your reputation.
This can be as easy as a Google Alert and as complicated as putting together a focus group. Your exact strategy for monitoring the way people feel about your business will depend on your exact market, but it is essential that you have a strategy. You need to understand what methods work and why they do. This will help you further build your brand and also help you develop a plan for dealing with negative public relations.
Manage your reputation.
Once you have completed the above four steps, you will be moving your business reputation from the development stages to the management phase. A reputation loses strength without almost daily management, so be proactive. In many cases, you can manage your reputation by simply doing the things that built it in the first place while avoiding actions that would erode it. This will require time and effort on a daily basis, but having a great business reputation is more than worth the investment.