Don’t separate ethics from reputation management

By Lisa Goldsberry

58832508_s.jpgLearn why both are important to your company’s image and bottom line

Your company’s reputation precedes you in every meeting, event and interaction with the public. It’s what consumers use to decide whether they can trust you and your product and if they should spend money with you.

You may think that a good reputation just happens; that if you are well behaved and don’t actively seek to do harm, people will notice. But this is not the case. It’s vital to manage your reputation – and do so ethically.

Things you should not do to manage your reputation

Lie to make your company look good. This will most certainly come back to bite you. For example, Wal-Mart, in an effort to fix its poor reputation, publicized a story about a couple traveling the country in an RV and staying at Wal-Mart stores along the way. The only problem was that it wasn’t true; a PR firm fabricated the whole story. Both Wal-Mart and the PR agency suffered damage to their reputations as a result.

Cover up wrongdoings so they don’t affect your reputation. Some companies seem to believe that if no one knows about their deplorable behavior, it doesn’t count. For instance, Volkswagen deceived the public and environmental regulators for years about the emissions produced by its clean diesel engines. It was discovered that it had been manipulating test results by installing software designed to cheat. The hit to Volkswagen’s reputation was brutal. The company was also fined $37,000 per car affected, amounting to more than $18 billion in total and causing the CEO to step down.

Post fake reviews to combat reputation-damaging negative ones. New York regulators in particular have cracked down on the practice of posting fake reviews on social media, levying approximately 20 companies with fines totaling more than $350,000. If you are hit with a slew of negative reviews, of course you should work to highlight positive aspects of your company. However, the best tactic is to actually fix what people are complaining about.

How to successfully manage your reputation

Pay attention to what the public is saying about your company. You can’t do anything about your reputation if you don’t know what it is.

Make the right decisions. Sure, there will be plenty of opportunities to cut corners, tell half-truths and use inferior materials to increase profits, but don’t do it.

Promote your good work. Find ways to highlight what makes your company special as well as any corporate social responsibility activities.

Respond to attacks on your reputation. Don’t just ignore negative information. You should address it and work to restore your good name.

Hire the right PR agency to help you. With the importance placed on reputation and its connection to profits, you can’t afford to get it wrong by using unethical tactics that turn off customers and prospects.

Let the experts at Axia Public Relations help you manage your image, take control of your reputation and get results without compromising ethics. Contact us today or download our free e-book Online Reputation Management to learn more.

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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has been with Axia since December 2013. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image credit; 123rf.com

Topics: Public Relations, Featured, Reputation Management, Ethics

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