It’s amazing how a few words can trigger a train of thought a mile long. Seth Godin has a short piece on the art of juggling. So what does juggling have to do with reputation management? Plenty really. To quote from Seth’s blog:
Throwing is more important than catching. If you’re good at throwing, the catching takes care of itself. Emergency response is overrated compared to emergency avoidance.
Of course, it’s the last sentence that caught my eye (that’s his italics, not mine). You can apply the philosophy that response is overrated compared with avoidance to reputation management. Operating online with a policy of providing good products with a good service and you will develop a reputation for excellence.
However, what had me thinking was human nature. We do make mistakes, and they can sometimes be blown right out of proportion. Imagine a juggler that has been distracted for a moment – there’s a good chance they will drop the lot. And that can happen to reputations as well – take your eye off the game for a moment and suddenly your name is mud.
Unlike a juggler, you can protect yourself to a certain degree. By building a strong reputation early, it becomes harder to undo. Those that believe in you and your products will doubt any negatives until they can prove for themselves that what is being said is true. What is important in the reputation management process is to build a strong reputation in all the places you operate in.
This includes search results, social media, and your own websites. If you can develop that reputation from day one, you will lessen the chance of any stray incident or a disgruntled employee (or customer) starting a negative campaign against you. In simple terms – reputation management starts with your activities. Like a juggler, it takes constant concentration to ensure your business is doing everything possible to build and support your reputation.