We can all easily recognise it, whether it’s in our personal life, our business or our professional lives, that actually our reputation precedes us. So when we walk into a room or we go for an interview or we propose a new program or deal with clients or we have to make a business judgment, how we are seen is probably one of the most critical factor!
People look at us having seen, ear, known or had some experience with us beforehand and that in essence, their perceptions of us is our reputation and it precedes us virtually in everything that we do every day of our lives.
Like me you probably asked a colleague his or her opinion on the last iPhone 6 (I work with geeks so I get plenty of these), more recently for me it was about car seat for my little one, which give me the idea of this blog post.
Nowadays, clients place greater and greater importance on the perception of the company offering services than the perception of the services themselves. This explain why so much companies are highly focused on the perception of their business print on the environment, the economy (local or global depending on their size) but also the impact on their clients unique experience.
An example of a company that puts high attention on its reputation is Apple. That, from the end user angle to the very corporate citizenship statement of the company. Apple is very meticulous to manage in the best possible way everything that can impact its product line. When recently Apple is accused of “failing to protect Chinese factory workers” every angle of the situation is swiftly handled by the company.
So local or global whether you are working for a large, medium or small business or you are a single-person business, you need to worry about your reputation and your company’s reputation.
What’s does influence your reputation? What can you do to improve? Here are a few things I find particularly relevant to the world of tech. companies, but I’m a big believer of ideas cross-pollination over industries.
I state this obvious but … recent study show that less than 1 director level out of 5 is networking efficiently. Networking is an art (that I confess being very beginner at) that everyone of us in the tech. industry need to master over time and especially if you are a single man company.
Increase relationships with the community of your industry but not only, every community, especially those where your company operates. Meetup is a great tool for the professionals, in large cities like London, you can find Meetups for almost everything. Yes: EVERYTHING.
I recently blog about hackdays at my company. At New Bamboo we run them regularly, it is an important part of our culture, giving us time to tinker with new technologies, projects, and ideas, as well as enabling us to team up with colleagues we don’t often work with.
What is a hackday, then? It can be whatever your people want it to be, but for me it’s all about learning. Our team members decide what they want to do, whether it’s learning new technologies, improving their efficiency, working with new people or building awesome new projects.
Why not having a ethical hackday to help a charity that face a technological challenge? Why not invite external teams from your competitor or the designer you work with all year long? Learn and add value to your business, if your business becomes more agile, efficient, diverse, lean, you will increase and improve your reputation.
Contribute to the development of your community
Whether it is from a social or an economic perspective, contribute to a community that influence your industry is highly valuable. Undoubtedly and because this community is in your network, your network will talk about your presence.
Defining this contribution is the next step. I’m in favour of community that promote diversity and inclusion. Have your team attend the event and better participate. This is not just about the “swag”, t-shirt and usual shout out on Twitter. Outstanding contribution is what people remember.
Recently I also learnt that it is important to envision how your will enable this investment and more importantly think ahead how this investment fits in your culture approach. A startup will have a very different one than a corporation, with obviously different return.
If you’re not concerned about your development principles from a sustainability perspective, prospects and clients will be less interested in working with you.
Let’s face it, most companies are looking for trusted partner and a one single shop suppliers in 2015 market. The addition of these two important differentiators relay on sustainability.
Ask yourself if your project development methodology as well as your delivery approach position your value in the client best interest. Also get back to basic: have you set-up for each project a test suite that anybody can use? Sometimes saying “no” to a client is in its best interest, this will contribute to a positive reputation.
Support a solid team culture
Thanks to an attractive, thriving and differentiated culture the very best part who build and bring to life your company will become your ambassadors with customers, prospects and in the community.
From empowerment to perks via innovation, developing a differentiated culture that will attract top talent in your industry is an essential to build a strong reputation. I like to believe that opinionated passionated people deliver outstanding client result.
Establish trusted partnership
Particularly in the information technology industry – whatever you work with FMCG, services, banking or pharmaceutical – it’s becoming harder and harder to be able to deliver everything for large scale projects.
Take the example of delivering a complete iBeacons solution for a retailer that have multiple street-shop in multiple countries. From the backend infrastructure, to the front end, the hardware in shops, the daily support and implementation, the dashboards, the mobile applications and the social interaction rare are the small innovative companies that can deliver on all specialities needed.
Establish deep, close and highly collaborative partnership with suppliers and influencers based on mutual commitment to operational efficiency.
What have you done to improve you and your company’s reputation? What are you planning to do in 2015 with these objective?