Don't go putting a bow-tie on a pig!
When it comes to building a great reputation, a lot of organisations seem to have it the wrong way around. They spend money on marketing and putting out positive messages, without really considering what's going on inside their walls. And sometimes what's really going on is not all that pretty.
Trying to create a good reputation using smoke and mirrors is about the same as putting a bow-tie on a pig. It might look cute, but when all is said and done, it's still a pig. You're not going to fool anyone into thinking it's some rare, stunningly beautiful beast (unless of course you really love pigs, in which case I say "each to their own!")
Reputation needs to be build from the inside out, not simply be window dressing. I believe three key ways to build reputation capital are:
- Know what you stand for, and make sure you convey that clearly to everyone important to your organisation
- Know what's going on inside and around your organisation, and take action immediately to address potentially negative issues
- Have great relationships with everyone who can impact on your business. Know what their expectations are and do you best to exceed them. If you don't meet their expectations in some way, do something about it.
To build a reputation, you first need a firm foundation. Start with the inside of your organisation first.