Reputation management in the era of distrust
We live in a day when you might not be able to trust the leaders at your religious institution or your university who have access to your kids, you can’t trust those in charge of our financial system on Wall Street or in banks, your governmental leaders are probably lying to you, and if you’ve made a trip to Europe recently, there is a good chance you have eaten horsemeat called “beef.”
Perhaps there are no greater problems today than there have been in past times, but with our communication culture, we find out about more of the bad things going on and how they occurred. Whatever the cause or truth, as you consider your own company’s advancement in your marketplace, you must take care of your reputation while considering the current climate.
The decline in trust
At least partially because of the size and scope of national and international scandals in recent decades, there has been a decline in trust in just about every category of institution in American society.
So when your company either makes a mistake or appears to have made a mistake, it is less likely today that you will be given the benefit of the doubt by your customers and other stakeholders.
Control what you can, make sure your reputation is top notch
Some of your attention can be placed on elements you can most control like social media. More than one study has shown, for instance, that there can be a demonstrable value to your business to have a half-star greater Yelp rating.
Whether or not your company relies upon social media, you should take steps to understand your customers’ perspective of your business and know that if a problem does arise, reputation management and repair may present a steeper hill than in the past because of the general mistrust of companies and governments in American society today.
If a crisis does occur in your company, you should understand that your reputation going into the crisis very well may determine the type and complexity of the response you must put forth. Pay attention to the status of your reputation and earn some trust-credit from your customers in case one day you have a problem you want them to forgive.