Strong reputations take time to build and add significant value to the bottom line.
Brands come from creative development and investment; reputation however has to be earned. With the right leadership and customer ethics, a business will become sustainable and profitable. A good reputation also acts as a buffer should a crisis occur, Steve Job, Chairman and Chief Executive of Apple knows this well.
He has transformed Apple from a company selling quirky, high end computers into a global brand phenomenon, all built on a positive reputation for delivering beautiful design with a true customer focus. With iconic products such as the iPod and iPhone, Apple has become a lifestyle brand with far more influence than just a supplier of consumer electronics.
During the much-reported reception problems experienced by customers of the firm’s new iPhone 4, Jobs intervened directly to address concerns and uphold Apple’s reputation. Although the material fix is reported to have cost the company around $100m, it was the speed and decisive action from Jobs that ensured its hard built reputation was maintained. In fact the company share price increased at the time, despite these problems with the new product.
Customers have remained loyal and continue to buy into the Apple experience, despite the ongoing economic difficulties. The message is simple; a positive customer experience at every level is critical to reputation. Not only does it say a lot about the philosophy behind a company and its leadership but customers will keep coming back provided they are treated properly, after all the customer is king!
Here are our top three tips towards building a positive reputation:
- Establish a corporate culture: building a company reputation starts with clear messages from the top, it’s important the team share your vision for the business and ‘buy in’ to the customer experience you would like to deliver.
- Empower your staff: say and do the same thing, leading by example is the best way to take people with you. Ask for ideas and include people in decision-making. When people are empowered and love what they do, their passion is transferable and your customers will notice.
- Know your customers: Talk to them and get feedback. Understanding your customer’s experience will help align your products and services to meet and exceed their expectations. It’s vital information to help deliver what your customers want.
Reputation is a measure of customer experience and helps to establish a vital emotional link, which goes far beyond individual products and mere brand loyalty. It’s good for business, good for profits and ensures long-term prosperity.
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Written by Paul C Wynn, Director at Tellit Marketing and Communication Limited
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