Building Your Reputation vs Brand
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Many people talk about your brand and your reputation as interchangeable terms but your brand is only a piece of what forms your entire reputation. Your brand is what you stand for and how you approach your work. You have control over your brand because you can decide what you want to do and how you want to do it so you leave a positive impression. Your reputation, on the other hand, is what people remember and share about you. If you live up to the high standards of your brand you can hope for a good reputation, but it’s not guaranteed.
Maya Angelou said, “People may not remember exactly what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” If you treat people bad, they will tell their friends and your reputation is tarnished. But treating customers and coworkers with respect, prioritizing relationships and keeping promises will provide people with something constructive to talk about. Consider the following advice for developing and maintaining an outstanding reputation:
- Develop Personal Integrity – Do you have a history of following through on positive intentions? If so, even when you make mistakes your essential integrity can uphold your good reputation.
- Control What you Do – In today’s age of social media, people will tell stories, true or false, about others. You can’t control what is said by others, but you can control your character by consistently doing what is right.
- Be Transparent – Transparency builds trust. Use full disclosure when promoting brands and let shoppers know what your product selection criteria is. It’s also important to be transparent with your team. When everyone is informed about your efforts the team develops trust and members are better equipped to deal with problems successfully.
- Hold Yourself Accountable – Don’t blame others for your mistakes if you want to keep a positive reputation. Own up to your own problems (we all have them), and offer solutions to solve them.
- Imitate the Best – Who do you know that has been successful without compromising their values to maintain a stellar reputation? Learn from them.
- Convert the Haters (if you can) – Don’t ignore negative comments but use these opportunities to win over individuals in a positive and professional manner. Understand however, that some unfortunate souls can’t be changed and aren’t worth your time and energy. No need to worry – your good reputation will outlast their negativity!