Why Bother with Reputation Management?
Reputation management can be the difference between soaring in success or crashing in flames. Your reputation can have far-reaching repercussions. And in today’s world of instant communication and infinite electrical memory, reputation management has never been more critical.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a business or individual could totally fail to serve a customer, and face significant, but limited, repercussions. Customer complaints could be defused and relegated with a shrug to “my word against theirs.” The wronged customer might tell their circle of friends, who might in turn tell their friends. But life goes on, and the outrage would generally fade.
Fast-forward to today’s reality. Encounters can be captured on cell phones, not only by the individuals involved, but also by any others who happen to be in the area. Thanks to social media, these records can be easily and instantaneously posted to the world. For better or worse, there is a record of the encounter. It may be misinterpreted or biased, but indeed the whole world is watching. There is a record, and documentation which sets boundaries on fictional embellishments by either party.
The electronic record is not only instantaneous, it is also perpetual. Actions, promises and claims, once captured, are there to be searched, reviewed and remembered. What you say and do can and may be used against you.
For some, reputation management has never been easier. The electronic record is an ally and defense against frivolous claims. While inconsistencies or misinterpretations may occur, these can be explained and this transparency can enhance credibility and reputation. For others, reputation management in the electronic age is a nightmare and a crisis waiting to happen.
5 Tips to Remember:
Consider the following and maintain a positive professional reputation.
- Do the right thing. If you have nothing to hide, you don’t have to worry about hiding it.
- Remember that there are electronic records almost everywhere. From surveillance cameras on the streets and in buildings, to records of your internet activity, your actions has been captured and can be recalled at will.
- If an issue arises, deal with it professionally. Do not ignore it and expect people to conveniently forget. Explain what needs to be explained, make apologies if needed, and communicate the actions you have taken to prevent recurrence.
- Be consistent. Your past is readily available to anyone with a search engine.
- When you need to change course, be transparent. Explain the reason for the change and how this is consistent with your past activity.
Examples of successful and not-so-successful reputation management efforts are constantly in the media. Be proactive about reputation management, and spend your time and resources building rather than salvaging your business and career.