Founder's Friday: How to Fix Your Bad Reputation

So, you have a bad reputation? Here’s how to fix it…

As a former TV executive, I still use the excuse that watching television is homework.  Really! I was lucky to be addicted to news and programming for over 35 years – after all, it was work. Old habits die hard, and I admit to watching The Bachelor the other night on ABC.  Besides the show being a social media bonanza, it was clear this particular bachelor had a reputation to live down. I asked myself: how is he working on improving his reputation? What useful steps has he taken to turnaround his reputation?

Here is what I’ve observed so far…. and these observations also apply when making an online response:

He accepts his reputation.

He owns it. He knows that this is not how he wants to be seen by others. This is the first step.  Recognizing what is being said about you, and accepting it without excuses or explanations, allows you to proactively process your feelings and find a path forward.

He’s talking about it authentically.

Without the defensiveness or wall that can be put up when encountering negative feedback, an individual (or business for that matter) is able to have a constructive, productive interaction. This type of response also provides him the benefit of humanizing himself, making him relatable and approachable.

He trying to find a way to turn it into a strength.

Understanding your reputation is built on understanding how you are perceived. Whether it’s accurate or not, knowing the prevailing perception allows you to put yourself in a better position.

This approach can be dicey because it borders on an excuse.  If communicated in a humble way or with a sense of humor, however, it can work for you.

He’s trying to get others to see it from his side.

It doesn’t hurt to explain yourself. After all, you don’t have to be a doormat. It’s important, however, to be careful when presenting an argument that can potentially backfire.  More often than not, if you are on the receiving end of the explanation, you just want an authentic heartfelt apology. 

He’s not aggressive about it…but he’s assertive…so far so good.

It’s a fine line between the two when defending your reputation. Aggression inflames the situation, and can back people into a corner.  The negative can then take on a life of its own.  What you want to do, at all costs, is to lower the level of energy behind the complaint and, if possible, take it off line.  Consistent, steady and honest interaction almost always wins the day, both online and in person.

Honesty and authenticity are most important when building your brand. Thankfully, today’s technology provides many ways to mitigate the effects of a bad reputation. Years of experience in a reputation-based industry have given me the wisdom to know that it is well worth it to improve your reputation whenever you can.

 

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