Friday, February 06, 2009

What is a “Reputation Agency” and what does it do?

Since January, Abbott Public Relations has been describing itself as a Reputation Agency TM. But what, exactly, does that mean?

It means APR is completely focused on creating, building and maintaining your reputation, whether you’re an individual, a new startup, a small business or a home business.

“Reputation,” to some, might seem like a nebulous, hard-to-pin-down term, but it really isn’t, and is actually a vital tool to have in your business arsenal. In fact, without it, your business may have a very short life indeed.

In brief, a reputation is one’s good name, or more specifically, how your name is perceived by those with whom you do business - or even with whom you HOPE to do business or interact with in the future.

Reputation is the quality or character of an individual or business, as seen and judged by others (fairly or unfairly) and it’s the recognition by others of your characteristics and abilities.

But how is a reputation built, exactly?

First, we must assess two things: Where your current reputation stands and where you want to be at a certain time in the near future.

“Where you are” in regards to reputation is defined as how you’re viewed by your customers (and sometimes by your WOULD-BE customers) as well as your vendors, managers and employees.

Sometimes discovering just where you are is quite a surprise. Simply put, often we think things are viewed one way, when in fact, they’re viewed quite differently by others. That’s a very important thing to know, because we have to remember that “reputation” isn’t how we view ourselves, it’s how others view us.

Once we know how others view us as individuals or as a company, we can address that reputation head-on, and honestly.

Do you need to improve customer service? Should you become more active in your community? Do your customers, vendors and others who interact with you (those we PR folks call “publics”) need to be better aware of the good things you’re ALREADY doing? Should you be communicating better with them about what’s new, innovative and creative in your particular business - or in your profession?

All of these are questions to be asked in order to reach a certain “reputation goal,” which can be defined, perhaps, as “increase customer traffic by X percent within the next three months,” or “increase awareness of our business in the community by Y percent at the end of this campaign.” These can be used as yardsticks for your efforts to improve your reputation after you implement them.

So you can easily see that reputation isn’t some mysterious, un-definable thing, but rather, a vital part of your business.

And a small, nimble, affordable, creative Reputation Agency TM like Abbott Public Relations is just the firm you need to get your reputation to where it needs to be.


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