In the marketing business, everyone hears the cliches about the business and marketing success stories – be a good leader, risk-taker, and listener. But, it starts even before all of that. It starts with how one carries themself before they are ever in charge of a brand or leading other employees. Success as a marketer begins with the importance of reputation right from the beginning of one’s career.
When starting out as a marketer and businessperson, reputation is everything. And when I say reputation, I do not mean status. Though both reputation and status relate to forms of social evaluation, they are quite different in the literal sense. Status relates more to one’s position in a professional sense or social standing. Reputation, however, relates to the beliefs and perceptions people have about the quality of someone.
Unlike status, these beliefs and perceptions can be made instantly upon meeting someone. They are not necessarily predetermined based on prior beliefs/perceptions others may hold about the same person.
How to Build a Reputation
All of this is to say that you do not need money, a high-positioned job, or personal connections to have a good reputation. Building a good reputation when you are first starting out on your marketing ventures is more within your grasp than you might imagine. All you need is the personality, charm, and social skills to connect with those you meet in order to influence positive beliefs and perceptions about you. This turns into one of many marketing success stories all on its own. If you do this, you can build relationships that turn into connections that turn into networks that can turn into any business opportunity you want.
Translating It to Your Brand
So, now that we’ve covered just how important building your reputation is, let’s talk about translating your positive reputation to your brand.
They both go hand-in-hand, really. If you yourself have a good reputation, it means that, in general, people believe you to be a good person with strong morals. And, if you are a good person with good morals, theoretically, this is how you will run your business or your marketing efforts. But the truth is that marketing is harder and more complicated than that. You may have certain ideals about the environment and the impact you want to have on it. But when it comes down to it, you simply do not have the funds or means to run your business in the more eco-friendly way you truly wish you could because of expenses.
So how do you get around an issue like this without betraying your own values and your company’s reputation? The answer is authenticity. Consumers may seem harsh and quick to “cancel” when it comes to a brand’s business malpractices. But, they are also much more understanding than corporations often give them credit for. The truth is that they simply want honesty.
A brand or marketer that is straightforward and takes a no-nonsense approach to how they handle their marketing efforts is always the one that is successful. Take Dove, for example. When Dove was faced with criticism and questioning about their involvement in an industry that does so much damage to women and beauty standards, they did not shy away from the criticism. They did not lie or deny their involvement. In reality, they knew it was true. Additionally, they knew that this was their entire industry.
In this situation, they could not lie or release pledges for unrealistic goals surrounding the beauty industry. Instead, they launched the Dove #RealBeauty campaign. Ultimately, this fully exposed the damage that the beauty industry as a whole had done to women. It featured the dysmorphia women have about their bodies and faces, the amount of editing and PhotoShop that goes into marketing photos, the negative impact these messages are having on young girls, and so much more.
The response to this campaign was incredible, and it is all because of their authenticity. They did not deny or refute or make excuses in response to the criticism. Instead, they embraced it, admitted their fault, and showed how they were fixing it. As a result, their brand reputation increased tenfold.
Overall, many different answers exist to things marketers have in common. But the one thing that is guaranteed to lead to marketing success stories is a strong, positive reputation.