To maintain your reputation today, you must go beyond the here and now


Ran Blaer is the founder and CEO of Perceptostrategic reputation management and digital communication agency.

There’s an old, worn-out expression that says, “The past cannot be changed. The future is still in your control.” It has become conventional wisdom, seen as a timeless pearl Yet it is no longer quite true. The idea that the past is set in stone is wrong. Apparently, in today’s world, the past can be changed, albeit with enormous consequences for the reputation of companies and individuals.

Until recently, it took something very special to tarnish the reputation of a well-polished brand. Scandals like the controversy that rocked auto giant Volkswagen are rare. Formerly a trusted industry leader, it was: revealed that the company had deliberately allowed large numbers of vehicles to emit hazardous gases. Understandably, public approval quickly sank to an all-time low. Operating income suffered billions of dollars in losses.

However, in today’s complex communications environment, the sheer number of different channels available to get a given message across is a minefield of potential reputation problems. Even something as routine as an email can be dangerous. Four years after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people, Adidas sent an email to the runners of the 2017 event with the embarrassing title: “Congratulations, you survived the Boston Marathon.” The company was forced to public apology

There is little doubt that social media is the single biggest factor in significantly shifting the landscape. Carefully crafted images, decades in the making, are undone in the blink of an eye. For example, when Jeff Bezos advocated the idea of ​​saving the Earth on Twitter, it sparked an avalanche of criticism about working conditions at Amazon. Not exactly the look Bezos was hoping for.

Crucially, though, the reputation threat is no longer just a clear and present threat. Tweets and Facebook likes that went undetected for years are regularly returning to haunt people in the public eye. Rapper Iggy Azalea saw her popularity plummet after coming under fire for being racist and homophobic tweets she made before she became famous.

Such trends ensure that reputation management is no longer just about dealing with the challenges of the present or anticipating the future. It also requires the ability to plan for the past. In other words, reputation management is a long-term business. It is not enough to capitalize on the current success. The past can catch up with companies and individuals faster than ever.

The only way to protect against this is to diligently build a reputation over a long period of time. There is simply no quick fix to the growing challenges. More than ever, reputations should not be left to chance. Instead, they must be carefully constructed.

1. Be clear about the type of image you want to cultivate. It should be consistent with your past and an authentic reflection of your core character and values. An insincere, insincere image will soon be exposed.

2. Use all available resources to strengthen this well-considered reputation. This means that all forms of communication must be used to deliver the right messages on a consistent basis. It also means that the allies and stakeholders you interact with must reflect your values ​​and enhance your reputation.

3. You have to persevere. Stamina can save even the most shattered reputations. Golf superstar Tiger Woods once had the world at his feet. He was an extraordinary talent and the pinnacle of the sport. Worldwide fame made him one of the richest athletes on the planet. It all came crashing down when nasty revelations about his private life surfaced. Sponsors abandoned him almost overnight.

In recent years, however, he has even battled physical adversity to make a remarkable comeback. After a long stint in the wilderness, Tiger’s reputation as a symbol of resilience has been restored.

So while the statement, “The past cannot be changed” is no longer entirely true, “the future is still in your power” remains a commonplace. Relentlessly pursuing a long-term positive reputation will not prevent the past from catching up, but it will pave the way for future success for both companies and individuals. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?


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