Reputation in its essence is an investment decision you make, the strategies of short-term and long-term investments hold as much water in this context as it does in wealth management.
Why do I say that? Simply put its not you per say that forms your reputation, it’s the perception of you. Bridging the gap between who you are and your perception is what wins the trust of the stakeholders. If your actions contradict your perception way too often, what you will get is a negative reputation. If however, your deeds match your perception and you communicate consistently with mirror action, you may have a windfall and a far more elevated reputation.
Reputation is your eternal shield and its power plays out most in times of crisis. Human beings read into patterns, when you stick to your values and principles and transact over and over with consistency, your reputation is reinforced. If for some reason you deviate in a transaction, people think twice before losing trust in you because you and your stakeholders are invested in those giant reserves of transactions and an exception may yield you a benefit of doubt.
Let’s expand the conversation for a moment to culture – is culture built in a day? Clearly not. Multiple facets like behaviour, trends, fashion and events of the day interact and inter-grind over a long period of time to shape culture including family, societal structures, social contracts and even negative bias. Similarly, reputation is a sum total of countless transactions that you have with your stake holders and eco-system that shapes over a period of time.
Most importantly your reputation must operate in the context of the larger developments of the time. For instance, being profitable or scalable may have been a key pillar to being a successful company in the industrial age but in today’s digital age augmenting profit with purpose is quintessential. Environment and sustainability are key drivers of brand reputation in a time where the very survival of our planet and human civilization is at stake. Global warming and Covid pandemic are clear examples – where a brand must respond and build on its reputation by being relevant to the broader developments of the world.
Now lets’ read this at a more personal level. As a communicator one keeps getting the question – how do I enhance my brand reputation? Some dive straight into a mad rush to climb to the top of the noise bubble and often run into the trappings of algorithm led eco chambers. Algorithms which have become a force in the data economy are a wonderful gift when put to good use, but it can also lead you down a path where you hear what you say and see what you have already seen, it can bubble wrap your world with your digital footprint.
I’d say take a pause, awareness is key, have a conversation with yourself and those whose reputation you cherish. Ask yourself why before you indulge in how part of reputation building. Knowing your awareness threshold among your stakeholders and finding the optimum equilibrium is critical, this helps tread the delicate line between being present and avoiding audience fatigue and frustration with over exposure. You want people to look forward to you and not look past you. Communicating with action and purpose is paramount. Run if you must but chose a path diligently ,no matter how hard we run, if we are running in the wrong direction we run the risk of becoming the clutter ourselves rather than cutting it.
Finally, invest long term because your reputation outlasts you in form of legacy, your story lives on and can inspire many to lend their reputation to your cause.
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