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How Online Presence Can Shape Corporate Reputation

How Online Presence Can Shape Corporate Reputation

We know that reputation influences whether someone will buy from you; well, an article in this week’s Inside Small Business1 highlights that prospective employees are just as discerning.

A 2019 study by job site Indeed found that almost three quarters (72%) of job seekers consider a company’s reputation an important factor in their decision to apply for a job. The research also found a high level of job seeker skepticism and suspicion if an employer did not have an online presence, and there was a correlation between access to information and organisational trust, with trust increasing according to the information available.

But what kind of online information is important when it comes to building corporate credibility (the foundation stone of reputation) and trust (the outcome of a great reputation)?

I believe that what a company thinks, says and does – whether in person, in print or online – directly shapes its reputation:

  • What a company ‘thinks’ is embedded in its culture – revealed by its vision, mission, values, beliefs, assumptions, leadership style and the like.
  • What a company ‘says’ is embedded in its communication – revealed through narrative, language, tonality and the like.
  • What a company ‘does’ is embedded in the customer experience – revealed through delivery of the product/service itself, marketing touchpoints, sales process, human-to-human interactions and the like.

The path to building corporate credibility (and therefore, trust) is paving a high degree of congruence between these three business dimensions. What I’ve coined the Law of Reputational Alignment™ states that the more closely aligned corporate culture, communication and customer experience, the better your reputation. A strong emotional connection with the vision and ethos of a business can lead to greater customer satisfaction as expectations are met by more highly engaged employees.

Here are some tips to incorporate what your business thinks, says and does when considering your company’s online presence to help shape the corporate reputation you desire:

  • Culture (think) – develop a manifesto as a public declaration of your intentions, principles and beliefs. A good manifesto captures the core essence of why an organisation exists (purpose) through an expression of what it aspires to achieve (vision), how it intends to achieve it (mission) and what it believes in (values).
  • Communication (say) – share your brand story including why the company was founded, introduce the key people of your organisation, let customers sing your praises through testimonials, and project an image that communicates your unique voice, attitude and style.
  • Customer experience (do) – have a downloadable document or other free resource such as videos or podcasts useful to those whom you wish to attract, have a media centre, add FAQs, seek feedback and write educational blogs.

1 https://insidesmallbusiness.com.au/planning-management/importance-of-sme-online-reputation-affirmed-in-new-study, 12 February 2019

 

©Ros Weadman 2019.  Ros Weadman is the creator of the Reputation Equation™, founder of Marcomms Australia and author of BRANDcode®, a marketing guide for small business. Connect with Ros on LinkedIn or via www.rosweadman.com

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