• Nathalia Cruz Ortiz

6 Ways to Destroy Your Reputation

What exactly is a reputation? Your reputation is an intangible asset. It's based on your activities, values, relationships, and behaviors. It'll be judged on its own merits as well as in comparison to others or in business, to your competitors. Having a good reputation takes constant work and vigilance. A brand that has a good reputation has the potential grow its business, attract new customers, and defend itself against the competition.

Reputation is:

➡ a result of someone's actions and behaviors towards others;

➡ assessed by comparing it to its competition;

➡ when stakeholders consider an organization's genuine intentions as to whether it is worthy of their trust;

➡ based on its practices, communications, and relationships of a person, brand, or organization.

A negative attack on your organization's reputation has a lot to lose, and a good one has a lot to gain. Consumers are willing to spend more on organizations with a good image, from restaurants to flights. Over five years, organizations with high reputations beat those with bad reputations on every financial indicator, according to one study. (Cocis, 2021) Can you afford not to pay attention to your image, which is so directly linked to your revenue?

Here are seven actions that will destroy your and your business's reputation:

1) Not trusting your gut - One can avoid toxic relationships and situations by listening to your instincts. Many individuals will have opinions on what is best for you and your business throughout your life, some with genuine intentions and others with deceptive, damaging, or selfish motives. It can be challenging to identify which category someone belongs in, but if you set all of those other ideas aside and listen to your intuition instead, it will lead you to what is genuinely best for you. Do this to restore your reputation: Overthinking is one of the most significant stumbling blocks. Overthinking can overwhelm and confound you by generating a stream of ideas and thoughts, leaving you in a spinning loop with no clear destination. Analysis paralysis is another name for it. Put your business first; mentors and family members will tell you what THEY think it's right, which is not necessarily the best for you and your business.

2) Ignoring your online reputation - Ignoring even a single unfavorable review or comment can swiftly grow into a big problem for the entire company. Just like a leak can turn into a very costly mold remediation project. In 2022, thinking "it will go away" no longer exists. In 2018, Kevin Hart declined to host the Oscars due to backlash from Tweets he wrote back in 2009. An organization must keep tabs on all possible platforms where individuals could write reviews about your products and services. Do this to restore your reputation: Create Google Alerts for any keyword from your company, CEO, C-Suite management team, and board if you have them. Ideally, your social media team should keep tabs on this at all times. You can also use apps like Reputation, which uses artificial intelligence to search the bowels of the internet for any comments that have your name or that of your organization. Think of it as health insurance. You get health insurance if you get sick.

3) Blaming - It is common knowledge that people don't like admitting wrong. Psychologists call it a lack of self-awareness; however, it might be a little different for companies. The last thing you want to do during a crisis is to blame the victims, even if they are at fault. A company and its CEO will always be seen as Goliath. Of course, you want to tell the world your company is not at fault, but perception is everything.

Do this to restore your reputation: Have a pre-written statement that states the organization has hired an outside counsel to investigate the matter to understand the cause of the crisis. For example, if a product harmed a consumer, halt production, recall the product, offer reimbursements. The organization must investigate if the company was at fault, the consumer was victim to bad luck or a malicious act. The messaging must consider everything before proceeding to make a statement to the media.

4) Taking shortcuts - Back in 2014, management at US Steel was held responsible by OSHA for the loss of the lives of two employees because they favored profits over the safety of their staff. Whether deliberate or not, taking shortcuts can cause a multi-million dollar loss in revenue due to product recalls, reputation management, and possibly state and federal fines. If, as a business owner, you are forced to choose between shortcuts to produce defective products to earn more money, choose not to do it.

Do this to restore your reputation: Consumers and clients will react positively if you explain why prices have increased to maintain quality standards. Consumers have different expectations for Wal-Mart and Neiman Marcus products. The same goes for the quality standards of Mcdonalds' and Capital Grille. However, they will feel cheated and used if they find out you sold them something less for what they thought they would get. 5) Being fake - After more than 19 years, Ellen DeGeneres is recording her last season after accusations of a toxic work environment started entering the news cycle. Word on the street was that the "Queen of Nice" was rather nasty. At one point or another, we've experienced someone being nice to us while they trash talk about us to others behind our backs. Consumers will sniff out if a brand lacks authenticity pretty fast, and what's worst, they will share it with the world in seconds.

Do this to restore your reputation: Trying to be well-liked or following trends that go against your values for the sake of acquiring followers is being fake. As controversial as this sounds, a company that is true to its word is Chick-Fil-A. They are honest and vocal about honoring their Christian beliefs. Identify your values and stick to them. Finally, be the same person you are in private when you are in the public eye. Everyone has a recording device with them at all times. 6) Showing lack of empathy - Lack of empathy can lead to miscommunication, conflict, and broken relationships because either party doesn't understand what other people are saying. Empathy enhances management and teamwork by understanding the other's perspective. Putting yourself in someone else's shoes can help you reach a compromise.

Do this to restore your reputation: Just because you haven't lived the other person's experience doesn't mean you cannot understand how it must feel to be them during that particular moment. Listen to the customer while avoiding at all cost, saying, "I know how you feel." Ask them directly what do they feel is fair compensation for their loss. Start a conversation rather than dismiss them to minimize exposing the issue to the media. Social media is the media. The world is more connected than ever; therefore, a simple sentence can tarnish a well-known brands' reputation. So, as owners, you must maintain your reputation and your organization's facts straight because the internet never sleeps. When it's time to choose an app or hire someone to manage your social media presence, make sure they understand your particular market and consumer profile as well. For your brand to flourish, It's vital to stay connected, safe, and popular.

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