Know The Condition Of Your Brand

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It is mission-critical for you to know what message you are trying to send, what message your audience is receiving, and what steps you can take to maintain a positive reputation. Your reputation is like fine china – hard to make, easy to break and nearly impossible to repair. To be certain that the client always returns your calls, consider the following…

• Monitor your social media presence, and that of your key employees and contractors, on a consistent basis. Take steps to rectify any discrepancies
• Invest in a brand strategy that communicates clearly to your prospective clients who you are and what you are about. Too many business owners allow their brands to just develop by happenstance. Choose your own messaging
• Remember that in our digital world, everything you write or post online is eternal. Your emails must be retained by your Internet Service Provider for as much as 10 years, in case they are ever needed as evidence in a criminal matter or a lawsuit
• Deal delicately with political points of view, as many of your clients and associates will feel differently. Avoid strong opinions and hard-line political statements, unless you only want to sell to 50% of the market
• Get balanced feedback from clients, relatives or stakeholders who will tell you the truth. Whether they have told you or not, people around you are aware of how you are perceived. Tough love helps you make adjustments that will grow the business
• Stay on message. Like an elected official campaigning for office, you must continually remind the marketplace of who you are, what you offer and what your unique value proposition is. Share your key message points with your employees and stakeholders, and turn them into “brand evangelists”

Reputation management can be a game-changer for small business owners. Remember that all you have is your good name…

Stacey Key is the President and CEO of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. For more information, please visit www.gmsdc.org.

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