A lot of companies will allocate a large part of their spend on advertising and marketing, looking to ensure that their brand is exactly aligned to their wants and wishes. Individuals will allocate a lot of effort and time trying to ensure that their brand is aligned to their own wants and wishes.
Time, effort, money, advertising and marketing if used wisely will work towards enhancing the company’s and individual’s reputation and brand. However, what seems to be forgotten is that your reputation far exceeds your marketing reach. Your reputation is grown over time. Your reputation is built through a series of interactions with others, through a series of promises delivered or broken, through trust that you command or lose. Every interaction with someone else steers your reputation and brand, for the better or worse.
Your brand is not what you put out there it is what is received by others. Your brand is built on others’ perception and, whilst you have a great influence over it, ultimately you cannot control it.
Many years ago I worked with a manager who I would categorise in the “delusional” slot. What was received from this manager and his communication style was that he was short tempered, unrealistic with his commands, had lots of mood swings, was flighty with his favouritism and was for most part an ungrateful person. This was in complete contrast to what he believed his reputation and brand was. He believed that through his communication he was delivering a firm and yet fair approach, being level-headed and open and that his approach was that he didn’t want to make friends, he just wanted to earn other people’s respect.
There was a real disconnect between what he perceived to be true and what was actually true. He was disliked, disrespected and delusional.
On the very few occasions you were honoured with his managers presence, his own manager would tell us what an excellent job we were doing and how fortunate we were to have such a strong manager. Could she not read body language? Could she not see the side-glances and the look of dismay? Did she not listen to the team saying it could be done differently? Part of the ‘firm and yet fair approach’ was his constant barrage of “Why don’t you use your initiative? You only deliver the absolute minimum to get by”. Shall I tell you why? Because when anyone did use their initiative they were chastised for not delivering exactly what was being asked of them.
It was not unknown within the team to try and get back at the manager, to stick it to the man! Where possible and when appropriate we would try to trip him up; not literally, figuratively speaking. And how we would laugh and rejoice when we succeeded!
What did the Managers Management style mean to his reputation?
You do the maths He had one manager who would speak highly of him, and he had four direct reports with a team of 30 talking badly of him. What is one manager’s positive marketing reach versus 30 people giving constant negative comments?
Being ignorant of your reputation and that of your company’s is no excuse. Planning to change your reputation and brand through marketing alone doesn’t work. Brand and reputation are based on recurring actions both good and bad. Others measure those recurring actions, not you.
You cannot buy your reputation, you must work towards it, it must be part of you. You should be authentic and believe in what you are giving. Trying to gain a brand that is in complete contrast to your natural self and values will not be sustainable; the truth will always come out.
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