Repairing a Bad Reputation.

Your Reputation is the key to your success. If your reputation is tarnished how do you make it squeaky clean again?

Warren Buffett’s famous quote on reputation goes like this: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.

Our reputation can be damaged via our personal lives through melicious rumours, this can start in school onto higher education, it could be at work because of competive co-workers who are jealous of your performance or it could be unhappy customers writing bad things about your Brand. In some case it can even be political. Whatever the circumstances we have the power to create our own destinies and by confronting the issue head on we are one step closer to regaining our good image back.

Reputation may be falsely advertised with personal attacks, customer complaints and blatant falsehoods but what if what was said was true how do you recover from that? How do you restore your brands reputation?

If you find untrue content published, you can take legal action against the perpetrators. However if the content is damaging and true there is little you can do to remove the content other than to bombard the internet with lots of good news.

Slander can cause irrevocable damage against companies and individuals. Slander is when content is published to be untrue and or misleading causing defamation of character spoken oral or written communication with the intent and unjustly harm the reputation and usually constitutes a tort or crime.  In the late 19th century, the expression “yellow journalism” was used and described by New York Press editor Erwin Wardman, how newspaper moguls, specifically Joseph Pulitzer II and William Randolph Hearst, would use misleading sensationalized news article to improve circulation. Randolph Hearst was the subject material that inspired Orson Welles to make the film Citizen Kane, based on the influence and corruption he acquired in the 1920s and 1930s.

A damaged reputation may be difficult to recover from or repair. That is why protecting you brand is so important, Getting your good name back is not always easy, but it can be done with patience, determination, and perseverance.

If the truth is out there is little you can do to take it down, but you can bombard the internet with good and positive news. If you continue filling the internet with good things your bad reputation will be old news in no time at all. Time is a healer as they say.

A bad reputation is potentially temporary providing you can continue to have positive things written about up consistently.

Never forget what damage has been done but always remember people care less over time. After all the world does not stay in the same place all the time, people have other things to talk about and providing you are meticulous with positive news eventually your bad reputation will be history.

Think of this this way your bad reputation is only what happened today or yesterday, but you can make a difference by not carrying on into the future. Your bad reputation can continue manifesting if you do nothing, but with the right resources you can make it a thing of the past. Research shows that, contrary to popular belief, when compared to other means of social evaluation, reputation matters measurably less than other factors.

Remember, focus on the things you can control, not the things you can’t. What content has been published cannot be unpublished but the more content you have written that is positive will eventually outweigh anything bad.

Consider addressing the world about the bad content and make you views known. If there is no proof of the statements that have been published and is pure speculation directed at you consider a way that can help you rectify any misunderstandings. Perhaps there are other entities that may not be directly linked to you that have disgraced your honour, yet people have come to a conclusion it is your own wrong doings that have caught media attention and you need to set the records straight. Discuss with people openly about what has happened and regain peoples trust.

The secret is to change how others think about you. Sometimes you just need to control the perceptions of others. People need to be programmed to see things in a different light. Reinventing yourself and showing people a new you and by consistently showing a different perspective on what would have been once thought as bad will encourage people to talk about you in a positive manner.

Whether your reputation is true or false try to denounce accusations as lies as quickly as possible. The longer you leave it the more chances of you being labelled and associated to this atrocity. Be assertive not aggressive, and make sure you spread the word that you have tried to defend yourself. If you do nothing the finger will be pointed your way. Ask other people to help set the story straight. The longer this bad reputation exists, the harder it may become to fix. Clarify any misunderstandings. Be outspoken when challenging lies.

A good way to improve your reputation and regain trust is to do show you are a good person and go out of your way to be kind and do good deeds.

However, doing too much too quickly can backfire and you must be steady with your pace and be consistent. Its no-good holding and event you need to hold several. There is no quick fix. You cannot come across as desperate a people will see through you, which will damage your reputation even further.

1). If the bad reputation revolves around you alone do nice things for your family, friends and co-workers or your local community. A good way to do good deeds is to do some volunteering work, this is especially helpful in your local communities with elderly or disabled people.

2). If the bad reputation revolves round your business do good deeds for your employees and your customers.

3). If the reputation revolves around something bigger (An Entity) then there are steps you can take to try to resolve the problem and I have a consultation white paper of suggestions for anyone wishing to contact me.

The key to getting rid of your bad reputation is to impress others. Go above and beyond your call of duty. Do impressive things and in turn you can improve how people see you. Gaining peoples trust and respect which is earned can go a long way towards improving your reputation.

Evaluate your social circles, change your life and your beliefs. If you do bad, only bad things will come your way, do good things on the other hand and only good things will come your way.

If the problem is at work and you are caught in a toxic environment this can lead to depression and a poor work performance. You need to tackle the problem head on and if you cannot resolve the problem alone speak with your superiors or HR. A work environment which encourages an unhealthy work-life balance can make it seem that a hardworking, dedicated person make look they are lazy and not performing well, but there could be underlining problem that could cause others to perceive a person differently. Evaluate your workplace if you think you will never fit in because of the perceptions people have about you and after offering an olive branch to make things right, things have not changed consider changing career paths. You cannot make yourself ill by simply being in the wrong job with the wrong people.

When trying to get rid of a bad reputation which is a stigma attached to you try to change yourself. Try to see yourself through the eyes of others, if you do not like what you see, consider changing your mindset. We need to retrain our brains to think differently and it easier said than done as we are creatures of habit. However, making gradual changes in our mannerism and in our thought process and our behaviour eventually people will start to notice.

If you bad reputation is surrounded by who you are and what powers you have, and people are immediately fearful of you try to change your persona to be a loving and kind individual.

Seek professional help, from specialist advisors and consultants. Life coaches or a spiritual guides also can help you transition into a different person. Never be false and always be true to yourself. By starting with yourself and believing in yourself only you can make those changes without being superficial. This will carve the steppingstone to a brighter future.

Once you have mastered your own new strength you need to make people believe in you. Rebranding yourself does not necessarily mean renaming yourself it just means you can change the social stigma to be a more positive one.

By monitoring your reputation online you will help eliminate any false truths and will prevent prolonged damage to your integrity.

The quickest way to see what has been written about you or your brand is to go online and search the search engines results pages (SERP). Monitor your Google Analytics and look out for unusual performance anomalies in your site traffic.

Manage Google Alerts for all your titles using brand names, product tags, popular misspellings, competitors, senior team leaders and key industry terms and popular search phrases.

Evaluate if whilst trying to defend yourself it will cause more harm than good specifically if the damaging content published can be used to gain even more traffic. Consider if the site is a blog where subscribers can leave comments. Do not fuel the fire.

It is common knowledge that there are three laws for reputation management which are authority, authority and authority. The more popular you are, the easier it is to gain authority of your brand be in personal or commercial. A sure-fire way to gain authority is by building a social media reputation with a strong following. The followers must be authentic legitimate people that have subscribed to your social media pages or on blog posts.

You can also build your authority by networking at business intro events or public speaking. You could even be a sponsor, or you could join charitable organizations. Whatever strategy you use if the media is filled with good deeds you are doing only good things will come out of it and your bad reputation will be a thing of the past.

Remember if you are honest with people, people are forgiving and can learn to trust you again. Be the bigger person and own up to your wrong doings, apologise if you can and address the elephant in the room. However not everything is black and white and not everything that has been written about you can be swept under the carpet hence you have to show people you are not as bad as everyone is making you out to be.

Have you noticed at political rallies how politicians pick up babies to show the world they have empathy and can relate to normal folk? Politicians for example have both good and bad followers so see how they deal with the public and follow suit.

When dealing with your brand reputation try to control to conversation using social media platforms to clarify any misunderstandings, reduce complaints and build a fan base at the same time. Monitor not just the public but more closer to home your employees complaint platform such as www.glassdoor.co.uk there could be other sites in your region, do your research and find out what people are saying about you and your brand. Limit the possibilities of people buying up domain names with your brand name and writing controversial things about you. Own all the variations of your website URL, including negative versions (avoidthisbrand.com).

Be quick to apologize to customer complaints. Remember a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people and 13% of very dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people. Bad reviews spread like wildfire. However happy customers who have had their issue resolved will tell about 4-6 people about their experience.

Be authentic and never make up excuses or try and blame the problem on someone else. Always be transparent when handling customer complaints and if you have had bad press do not shy away and hope the problem will go away on its own it wont unless you do a press conference and address the issues.

Gain positive feedback from influencers who can help boost your personal image.

Most importantly, reward loyal customers, influencers and internet marketers. Make your clients and supporters feel appreciated by giving them exclusive content, products or experiences.

Finally, be patient, building a good reputation doesn’t happen overnight whereas rebuilding a damaged one is going to take even longer.

Be in control of what is written on the internet whereas it may take millions of dollars and years to build a a good reputation, it only takes a few minutes to create a social media account and potentially ruin a company’s brand and reputation.

Other reading:

How to React When Someone Blanks You.

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Renata is a businesswoman and published author. She primarily focuses on Digital Marketing, Content Writing, Website Design, Develo[pment, SEO, and Domain Brokering.

Renata is also the Editor of 'iRenata.com', 'UK Website Designers', 'Cymru Marketing Journal', 'UK Domain Brokers' and 'Disability UK' Online Magazine.

Renata offers several services for startups and SMEs.

Renata has a large network of over 10K connections on LinkedIn, compromising of Directors, CEOs, Millionaires, Billionaires, and Royalty. https://www.linkedin.com/in/renata-b-48025811/