BY CASEY BOGGS
This past quarter, we’ve seen an increase in business leaders contacting us concerned about their company’s reputation. With unexpected security breaches, leadership transitions and M&As, a business’ current reputation can make or break a company. What’s one of the easiest, straight-forward ways to protect reputations? Looking at the business’ current communications strategies.
We’ve found that most businesses, particularly in Oregon, don’t communicate properly, whether that be internally or externally. Your reputation can’t be protected unless you know how to communicate. However, improving communication strategies requires an in-depth look into your business. A plan of attack can get you there.
We’d suggest starting internally. Staff can tell a lot about the current state of a business. Doing internal interviews or surveys on how communications can be improved goes a long way. Is the staff really reading your emails? Is your newsletter effective? You will learn what techniques are working and what can be improved upon.
Following this approach, conducting a media training session prepares executives and staff for any questions they might encounter on the business. Are you confident your staff describes your company similarly to executives? When we’ve conducted media trainings, we’ve found a surprising amount of individuals answer questions differently- even when describing what a business does. Listing what words you want associated with your company ensures consistent messaging. You can’t control your outside reputation without making sure everyone internally is on the same page.
To get an external idea of how well your business is communicating, ask your current members, clients or customers. Pass out a survey, use an email list, whatever way you typically contact this audience asking what information they’re getting and what they’re not getting. Use this tactic to get an idea of what’s being said about your business in the public. Satisfied customers are crucial when it comes to referrals.
Once you’ve acquired enough information, you can use it to strengthen your business’ reputation via communications. Listen to the feedback and prepare your communications accordingly. By knowing how to communicate to your target audiences, you can ensure your desired messages are being heard. These communication tactics can get you there.
Casey Boggs is president of LT Public Relations.