Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links
John Wooden once said, “Your character is who you are, and your reputation is who people think you are”. The dictionary defines character as “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Whereas it defines reputation as “the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.” One is what you are, the other what others think you are.
Reputation used to be a less malleable thing before Google came along because people have been slowly giving the power of decision-making to machines like Google. We no longer do direct research ourselves – when is the last time you went to a library to do research – we simply “Google” something and pick a top result. Google is the new middle-man in our decision-making process. When an online reputation management company like Reputation X or others changes what Google portrays about a person or company, people believe those search results because they trust Google.
If reputation can be engineered, is character important?
According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump has infamously lied or made misleading comments more than 1,000 times. That seems like a significant character flaw, but does it affect his reputation? Not among his core constituency – they don’t mind. In this case, it seems like character and reputation may not be that strongly tied. But companies like Patagonia that strive for great social impact clearly have a strong character and a great reputation. Other companies like Monsanto don’t have great reputations yet are no doubt filled with people of sterling character. Is character important? Yes, because it leads to a good reputation. Is it always important? Clearly not. Monsanto makes a lot of money and Donald Trump is President of the United States.
Where does business character stem from?
The character of a business is usually a reflection of its founder. Character traits like being driven, honest, hard-working, confidence, humility and more are often carried forward to the businesses entrepreneurs start. Plus, the character of a business owner will have an impact on employee behavior, which shapes the way a business’ character is formed too. If an owner is well-mannered, patient, and friendly, you are more likely to find that his or her workforce is courteous too. On the other hand, if the employer regularly mouths profanities and has a short temper, employees are more likely to be ill-behaved.
Where does business reputation stem from?
Business reputation is typically manufactured; by yourself and by others. This is because it is the way that third-parties perceive your brand and your character. When you consider the fact that most people today turn to Google when they need assistance, you see how you can alter the way in which people view your company by focusing on how you market your website online. This is not an easy task, though, and it requires constant evaluation and management. However, it is well worth it, as reputation is more meaningful, unforgettable, pervasive, and important than it ever has been.
Reputation is not fact, it is a belief
What makes a company’s reputation so powerful is that it is a belief, which is one of the strongest forces of humankind. It is what we believe about a service, product, company, person, or brand, rather than being a statistic or a fact. This alone shows why reputation is so significant. After all, if someone believes that your business is a scam, they are not going to purchase a service or product from you, are they? The truth doesn’t matter. If you believe a politician was not going to live up to all of his promises and that he was merely conning the public, you wouldn’t vote for him, would you? Belief has the power to build you up and tear you down just as quickly.
How do you manage your reputation?
Now you know why reputation is so critical but is this something you can influence? And, if so, how much control do you really have? Well, you can have an influence, and it’s up to you with regards to how much of an influence you have. Reputation management is vital. It involves influencing what and how people think of a person or a brand, and so it shapes your reputation.
With that being said, it is important to delve deeper into reputation management and how it works. You will find that this mostly takes place online. After all, the vast amount of communication that occurs today happens on the Internet. From discovering new products and reading the latest news to speaking with our friends and finding out facts, it all happens online. Because of this, it is only natural that you put your efforts into this medium.
It is also important to recognize that your reputation is going to have an impact on other elements of your company too. It is very much in tune with your marketing and sales efforts. This is because what people think of your brand is going to have an impact on everything relating to your brand. Therefore, your reputation has a monumental impact when it comes to the number of sales you make, right?
What do you control about your reputation?
A lot of business owners mistakenly believe that they have full control over their brand’s reputation. However, your control is actually very limited. The one thing you do have control over is your business’s actions. Nonetheless, when you consider all of the moving parts of running a business, you don’t actually have full control over every wheel in the cog, so to speak. Because of this, that means your reputation is held in the hands of people who perceive your company. After all, you could do everything by the book – you could provide an experience to a customer that most other customers would rate 10/10. However, if that specific customer was expecting something different, they could post a negative comment online, and then your reputation becomes suspect.
This does not mean you are helpless, though. Reputation management enables you to deal with the likes of blog posts, Wikipedia, negative online images, and negative news articles. It also involves controlling social media, review sites, and ripoff reports and scam sites. These can all harm your business. In today’s digital age, search results can last for years. One bad customer review or a ripoff website created based on your own can do a monumental amount of harm, and this is why you need to manage your reputation to ensure it does not spiral out of control.
Character or reputation?
If you spoke to most people, they would tell you that your character is more important than your reputation, as your character is all about who you are and we should all be proud of who we are. While this is true, feeling proud won’t get you very far in the business world. This is why reputation management is critical. As reputations are built on beliefs, they can easily boost your company or cause monumental damage, and this is why it is imperative for you to do what you can to manage this effectively.