Three reputation management-related stories caught my eye in the past week:
Recent news from the UK's Office for National Statistics reveals that there was no double dip recession after all, but the positive information comes with a little twist in the tail.
Figures in the same report revealed that household disposable income saw the biggest drop in 25 years, meaning that many people are having to dip into their savings to make ends meet.
The ONS figures also revealed that the recession sparked off by the financial crisis in 2008 was deeper than originally thought.
This got me thinking about the impact that corporate scandals have had on companies, shareholders and the wider public.
The visual representation below comes from Accounting-Degree.org.
Reputation management can often be a bit like insurance: you know its value in theory, but you don't always take it out at the right time, that is, before something major happens.
As a refresher for those who may have already had an experience with reputation management and a gentle introduction to the process involved, I'm sharing this useful infographic from Search Mojo.
Let's face it, you're busy people.
You have work, business, social and family commitments.
But you still want to be 'connected' and relevant, so recognize the need to get plugged in to this social media stuff.
The big question is, how much time do you need to spend on social media?
The people from Dendrite Park have a fun way of answering it.
One of the most popular (dare I say 'overused') phrases in the reputation management 'industry' is that 'perception is everything'.
Whether you are an angel - or devil - in disguise, is basically irrelevant. Your reputation is based on how others see you.
Outside observed actions, there is arguably no other area in our personal and professional lives in which we are judged more instantaneously than on our personal appearance.
In a perfect world, what we look like shouldn't really matter, but the world - and the humans who inhabit it - is far from perfect.
We are all prone, to a greater or lesser extent, towards thinking or acting towards others based on inbuilt biases, learned or cultivated perceptions. Context, exposure and familiarity are other factors which also play a role.
It doesn't help that the media still seems to have a powerful influence on what people should look like, what they should wear, what (and how much) they should eat, drink, where they should live and so on.
The measure of beauty as promoted in the pages of glossy magazines, on television or on the countless numbers of fashion-based websites, has very little to do with real values.
Despite being acknowledged by many as a world of smoke, mirrors and artifice, an increasing number of women and men - nearly 15 million according to an article in the Guardian - are rushing to nip, tuck, lift and shave themselves into looking younger, fitter and more beautiful.
However, not everyone who opts for cosmetic surgery is doing it for vanity. Going under the knife can potentially save your job or lead to a promotion at work, according to research.
Your reputation may well be enhanced by a smooth, unlined face and trim physique, courtesy of botox (injections of botulinum) toxin) or lipoplasty (fat removal surgery.)
Today's infographic is from Facial Surgery Toronto.
The customer is not always right - despite the well-worn saying - but what's more unforgivable than the odd 'bad' customer (relative to the number of 'good' customers) is a bad company with poor customer service.
Under-promising, over-delivering and just keeping your promises are probably the easiest ways to establish and build a good reputation.
Then why do some companies often - and repeatedly - get it so wrong?
It's not rocket science (unless you sell rocket science stuff) and it doesn't need to be difficult and mysterious, as this article in Forbes highlights.
Investing in simple processes, training and good old fashioned manners - you know, 'please', 'thank you', 'I'm sorry', and so on can potentially save you a mountain of cash and prevent hard-won customers from deserting you and trashing your name online.
Unless you're providing an essential or unique service, it can cost a lot more to acquire than
to keep a customer.
The following infographic on the importance of (good) customer service is from 2012, but the themes are still relevant.
If you were given a hefty budget to 'package' yourself as a brand, what would
it/you look like?
Would you be: strong, silent, bold, brash, colourful, adventurous, professional,
outgoing, cool, fashionable or funky...?
Would you be an Apple, Android, Armani, Adele or Abercrombie & Fitch?
With so many people - not necessarily showbiz folk - jumping on the personal
branding bandwagon, it's almost inevitable that we should seriously consider
accentuating our positives.
Mattias Gron Borg has created an insightful step-by-step guide to help create
a 'brand new you'.
The 'traditional' way of public relations is effectively 'dead', having been overtaken
by social media by some distance.
But, given the dynamic nature of PR, it's successfully managed to morph, re-invent,
transform and reform itself into an relevant, necessary and essential practice
by harnessing the ease, power and immediacy of tools like Facebook and Twitter to
'stay in the game'.
Public Relations has always been and will always be about engaging an audience and communication.
The method of communication has significantly changed from 'us to you', into
a predominantly two-way conversation - and that's a good thing. A very good thing.
Clients and PR advisers have to work hard(er) to gain ears, eyeballs and minds.
As today's mammoth infographic from Inkhouse, a PR and social content agency
shows, the real casualties of social media are journalists and 'old media'.
PR is dead, long live PR!
A personal online brand has long been seen as a measure of someone's
standing, value and influence.
It's often used to judge a person's professional 'ranking', thus it's important
to use the tools that will enable you to 'make your mediocre marvellous'.
The following guide by Boot Camp Digital takes you through 10 of the most
popular tools to help build your brand online.
There are many tools used in the reputation management business - from search engine optimization to cyber security investigation.
One interesting tool is Klout, "a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score", which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.'"
Klout looks at at user's activities on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Instagram and Foursquare and measures how their social media network interacts with the content they produce.
There are alternative tools in the same market, notably Kred and PeerIndex.
Today's infographic comes fromKissmetrics via Visually.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.