The power of perception is not something to be overlooked in a business setting. This doesn’t mean resting your identity in how you look and what clothes you wear, rather what your reputation both personally, professional and as the author of your business has to offer the world. There are many reasons as to why you might find this preferable. A strong reputation is worthwhile for a variety of obvious benefits.
In this article, we will show you why and how to achieve this. This might help you take your career to that extra step, or help you navigate the public perception of your firm in a positive light.
The Details Matter
Perception is always and will always revolve around the details, as those details are the things that culminate and contribute towards the bigger picture. For this reason, it’s important to become a detail-oriented person. After all, a great wall is not built as one fixture, but brick by brick. This means assessing how your firm’s appearance is structured. Your corporate identity matters, and is under plenty of scrutiny.
To optimize this, you need to know what you and your firm are hoping to achieve. For example, if you wish to be seen as a professional firm, it’s worth ensuring that you are sincere and sensible in your communication and branding. Minimal colors, and a crisp understated website design can all speak of this. This should be emphasized by the products you offer or the services you suggest. For example, if you offer sporting goods, then inspirational and achievement celebrating language should be used in your press releases and product descriptions.
Details can be found in many small areas. For example, a polite message on the customer receipt in your store can offer a pleasant day to those who purchase your goods. It might be that you refer to your customers in a special way, or offer personalized services to the customers you truly want to keep hold of. These small efforts can set you apart in a stiff market of competition, and hopefully help you retain those interested in what you have to offer.
Social Media Accuracy
There has arguably been no better tool than social media regarding the public profile of many small companies. Even those running a business from their dormitory can potentially enjoy global exposure through the right networking and marketing campaigns. However, this excellent potential comes with a real risk – the ability of being misinterpreted or analyzed in a way contrary to your general goals.
For this reason, it’s important to know where you hope to stand. What public messages are you happy for your firm to be part of? It might change depending on the services or products you offer, or the general branding of your firm. For example, some new startups and sustainable operations often pride themselves on their humor. This can even work for very large businesses, and it only takes a trip to Wendy’s Twitter page to see that.
It pays to know that every word uttered on one of these social media pages acts as an endorsement for whatever opinion, statement, promotion or connection you have alluded to. This heightened the critical nature of ensuring your social media pages are managed by competent, reliable people. These should be people with creative flair, who understand how to achieve your public perception goals without compromising them. This might mean placing your trust in the personality of someone in your marketing team. It might mean hiring a specialized individual with experience in this prior. For the most part, it certainly means approving tweets or statements before they are sent – at least initially.
What Do You Offer?
It’s important to think of what you offer aside from your usual expectations. This is relevant for a variety of reasons, both personally and professionally. Personally, it’s hard to deny how going the extra mile in a whole host of ways can benefit you. It could simply be refining your competence by scheduling an hour at home to study, allowing you to come across more knowledgeable in that next business meeting or having a competent ground to stand on. It could mean working overtime, or taking that risk in making your ideas known.
From a business perspective, it could mean over delivering on each individual transaction that takes place. For example, let’s say you sell surfboards. Could hosting a regular blog or podcast on your website regarding surfing safety, surfing stories, the best places to surf among many other things allow a more natural and organic relationship with your clients to develop? This does nothing for your firm from a monetary perspective, but it surely improves how people view your organization. The business that uses this example will come across supremely interested in the industry, hobby or habit they are in the business of catering for, which adds an extra layer of authenticity worth having. After all, it’s likely you’re not in business to simply make profit, but to do well and to be perceived positively within the environment of your choice.
The public life of a firm goes through very many stages. Sometimes you may feel on top of the world, and sometimes you might be dealing with a scandal or other difficulty which may or may not be your fault. What matters in these instances is your ability to bounce back and create a more positive future. This is why when a business is accused of wrongdoing by a customer, it’s rare that they defend themselves unless they absolutely need to. Instead, they attempt to right those wrongs as soon as can possibly happen.
If you consider the vast array of review sites out there, it can be hard to keep up with public complaints or a bad reputation you may not even know about. Sites such as Tripadvisor, Yelp and Google reviews can all offer many different perspectives on your firm, from those who have genuinely engaged with your services to those simply hoping to throw a spanner in the works. Monitoring these websites and replying to people is tantamount to sustaining your public image. For example, if a customer complains about not receiving a refund a day after they have requested it, then your public reply can official state your refund policy and time it will take in a professional manner. This turns the interaction from one that might dissuade someone from using your firm, to one in which you can present your professionalism to achieve a better result.
Online information is so widespread that it’s hard to find all of these unwarranted criticisms and reply to or improve them, but paying attention to these most common places can certainly help your public perception. If a larger scandal breaks, it pays to have lawyers at your disposal to help you phrase public statements but also pepper in a little humanity. Sometimes an apology goes a long way, as well as an outline of how things should change.
You can also see the benefit in bouncing back during your own life at the firm. It could be your inexperience as a business owner leads you to make a number of clerical or guiding mistakes. It could be your life as an employee is seemingly stopped as a result of an embarrassing remark in a boardroom meeting. What matters is your ability to keep coming back, as that often shows tenacity and drive more so than anything else. Business leaders and consumers know that when a firm is functioning well, the route to profit and sustainability is often guaranteed. To gain the respect of a firm, your boss or the public depending on what situation you’re in, charting a path through difficulty with integrity and positive ambition can make all the difference here.
What qualities make a leader? Well, there are many. Tenacity, drive, the willingness to listen, the ability to take risks and responsibility, thinking outside of the box, confidence, professionalism, great organization skills and a huge amount of effort could be considered some of the skills any leader needs to proceed well at the head of their firm. For this reason, it might pay for you to focus on each of these qualities and see where you are deficient.
While you might not need to conduct this role in your daily working life, it never hurts to take a basic accounting course, or at least read a book on the subject. It always pays to keep your door open for those HR situations that truly need your personal touch to resolve. It means taking a genuine interest in the people who comprise your firm, and balancing the line well between firm instruction and friendly hospitality.
It’s also important to ensure you are a leader worthy of a very small amount of fear. People who assume they cannot be fired or disciplined will always try and act out of bounds, and the larger your organization the more dangerous this can be. That’s why it always pays to be able to act completely serious and lovingly sincere in the same stroke. Sometimes, refining your confidence and competence as a leader can achieve this without any difficulty – and the office perception of you will increase as a result.
With these tips, you can be sure that you tailor perception to your advantage, and the advantage of your firm.
[Editor’s note: This post is produced by one of our trusted partners.]