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Are You A Jackass Or One Of The Trusted? 5 Questions To Ask About Your Business And Personal Reputation

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by David Garland in David's Blog

Are you a jackass or trusted advisor? Slick sketchster or amazing resource? “Reputation” is an extremely important word (READ: EXTREMELY) in business and combines the powers of public relations, marketing, advertising, customer service and more. Why? Because people buy from people they know and trust. This “knowing” and “trusting” is based on reputation.

For example, think of your best friend. What words would you to describe him or her? Are they caring, giving, helpful, loving? Do they follow up on their word or constantly cancel (I just had to cancel on someone today on a conference call..grrr I hate doing that)? When you are with this person do you feel safe, happy, excited?

The same thing applies to your business whether you are a corporation (example: Apple conveys innovation, fun, gotta-have, sleek, sexy), a small business (an accounting firm for example might want to convey the words safe, secure, thorough) or a personal brand like Chris Brogan (Trust, understanding, helpfulness).

You have probably heard the quote: “Your reputation precedes you.” Think about it. You can market and spend all the advertising dollars you want and if your reputation is still poor, you will still be in trouble (Example Charter Communications here in St. Louis… but that is true of many cable companies yikes!).

If you want to avoid a reputation of slimy, sketchy, unreliable, annoying, or any of those words you are looking to avoid, here are five questions you have to ask yourself:

1. What would you like your reputation to be?

Powerful or easy-going? Energetic or analytical? Precise or creative? Reliable or all over the place (a severe case of ADD)? Quick moving or methodical? Well liked? Trusted? Helpful?
(Note: some of those go together but you get the idea)

2. How do others see you ONLINE?

On social networking sites. On your website. On blogs. In PR Articles. What do they see you as? Helpful? A nuisance? Offer something of value? A pest? Authentic and transparent? Always stirring the pot? Just looking to make a fast buck? Always promoting yourself?
3. How do people perceive you IN PERSON?

Well put together? Dynamic? Shy? Always energetic? Trusted? Always willing to introduce people to one another? Only out for your own good?

4. What does Google say about your reputation?

Google (or Bing) yourself. Bing yourself sounds pretty fun. Lets keep it non sexual folks!  When you Google your name, what comes up? You naked at a frat party from 1993 or your old web page that hasn’t been updated since 1994?

5. What do people that know you say about you?

Are you often referred from others? If so, why do you think that is? If not, why not? Are positively sticky (not like melted M&M’s sticky) meaning people remember you and like you and your business? How can you become more sticky? I know I always refer a large group of people. Do you refer people? Why do you do so?

Your turn: When you think of the following what are three reputation characteristics that come to mind?

-Barack Obama
-Delta Airlines

Now think, how can I manage my reputation to make sure I have positive qualities of someone that is great to be around and do business with? Ask some friends or your social networks what they really think of you. Start with asking for three words to describe you. What did you find out?
Remember your business might change. Your career might change. But brands and reputation fly forever.

Oh and MAJOR KUDOS to Tricia Hardman. She read Chris Brogan’s post and my video about Thank You’s and sent me a HAND-WRITTEN thank you note for following her on Twitter (see above). Now that is awesome and her reputation needle just moved in my book.

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