It is likely that you have heard of online reputation repair. Reputation management is a key issue in the world of business today, albeit a poorly understood one. One of the confusions lies in understanding the difference between “reputation” and “brand”, which are not the same at all, although they are intertwined.
What Is Brand?
Your brand is how you want the world to see you. It is how you position yourself in your particular niche. It should tell people what your values are, and what you aim to be consistent in, as well as how these reflect to your audience. You are in control of your brand, and you get to decide how you represent yourself.
What Is Reputation?
Your reputation is essentially how other people actually see you. You do not have any control over this, as it is based on people’s opinion of you. A simple Google search will show people a wealth of things about you, which they will then base their opinion on. That is what your reputation is.
A reputation will fluctuate, but a brand should always stay the same. Brands are enduring, reputations are linked to public perception, and the public changes their mind regularly. Now what you do have to understand is how your reputation affects your brand. It is very important, therefore, that you make sure your reputation is a positive one, so that your brand looks good as well.
Define Your Brand
The first thing you to do is create a definition of your brand. Ask yourself:
- What you represent
- What your brand stands for
- What your core values are
- Whether your actions are reflective of those core values
- What you want your brand to look like ideally
- How close you are to your ideal
- How you can move even closer to the ideal.
Research Your Reputation
Next, you need to find out what information is out there about you. You have to find out, in other words, whether the way people see you is the way you want them to see you. This is true for individuals and businesses alike, by the way. To do this:
- Type your name into Google
- Determine whether the results on the first page are results that you want people to see
- Determine whether the results on the first page define your brand
Align the Two Together
In most cases, when you start to research your reputation, you will quickly find that it is not at all what you wanted it to be as part of your brand. This means you have to take strategic actions to change this. Some of the key things to do include:
- Generating new positive content that describes your ideal self and brand and promoting this.
- Making sure that any positive content from third parties is shared.
- Resolve any issues that are raised by people who have left comments that are not aligned to your brand.
- Understand the negative information that is posted about you in order to understand how others really see you, and develop strategies to improve yourself.