Make 2019 the year you build reputation capital

I did a lot of media interviews over the Christmas holiday break on the PR disasters of 2018 and what we can learn from them for 2019.

While it's fine to learn from the organisations that got in wrong (and there were plenty to choose from, like the Australian cricket team's ball-tampering episode!) it's so much better to focus on building what I call "reputation capital" in our businesses and ourselves.

I get SOS calls from businesses that are in the media for all the wrong reasons - and the truth is, many of those "crises" could have been avoided if people had taken action sooner. Even better, they could have done so much more to build a really strong reputation in the first place.

Here are three ways you and your organisation can build reputation capital right now:

1. Know what's going on
People who are great at building reputation capital regularly scan their environment for any sign of issues that could affect their reputation. They have a good handle on what others are saying about their brand - both from outside the walls of their business and also from the inside. They're aware of any reputation threats and they do something about them - as opposed to burying their head in the sand and wondering what happened when a crisis suddenly erupts.

2. Develop great relationships with those who matter most
Individuals and business leaders who want to build an outstanding reputation have strong, positive relationships with the people who can impact and be impacted by what they do. Do you have excellent relationships with those who matter most to you; for your business or career? What can you do to foster those relationships and build that network of support?

3. Nip issues in the bud
Good reputation builders know that an unmet expectation equals a potential issue that could snowball. As soon as you perceive any dissatisfaction in your circle of significant people, get onto it straight away. People and businesses that avoid costly reputation mistakes are adept at resolving issues before they have a chance to grow. They don't take a "wait and see" approach, they act immediately. 

If you practice those three, there's a good chance you'll avoid the reputation disasters we saw in the media in 2018.  Even better, you'll be on the front foot and building reputation capital.