What is reputation and practical ways to build your reputation and shape how others see you.

Reputation and Trust

22nd November 2022

By Richard


We recently asked clients and potential clients’ what criteria they used to select a new creative design consultancy.  Whilst case studies were the first, interestingly the second most important criteria were TRUST and REPUTATION, how you are perceived, what other people think about you and your work, and how you have maintained your reputation.


Definition of Reputation

Reputation is defined as being:

“the opinion that people have about someone or something, or how much respect or admiration someone or something receives based on past behaviour or character” The Cambridge Dictionary

The foundations of the Harrison business have been underpinned by our long-term relationships with clients. Over the past 24 years, Harrison has worked with the Founders of Nando’s as an external Brand and Design Guardian. The business has grown to a turnover more than £1 billion annually and is one of the best performing casual dining brands in the UK.  Our relationship with Youngs & Co has been over 17 years building an innovative, respected pub operator, and Giraffe Restaurants, for over 15 years, who are now part of Boparan Restaurant Group.

Psychologically It always comes as a shock to find out that others see us quite differently than we see ourselves. Often, it can be distressing, particularly at work.

“I don’t get it. I’m not that way.” 

Maybe not. But it happens. And when it does, a bad reputation can stick tighter than superglue thanks to word-of-mouth and the social media.

So, in today’s highly competitive world, your reputation makes a difference. Your competition can be down the hall, across the country, or 10 feet away, someone who wants your customers or even your job — maybe both.


Why is reputation Important?

When it comes to your reputation, hoping for the best isn’t good enough. It leaves it in the hands of others. Your reputation needs to be shaped and managed, so it reflects the way you want to be viewed.


How to improve your reputation

Here are some practical ways to deliberately shape how others see you:


For Individuals

Express appreciation to someone who helps. We all get busy and move from one thing to another, and before we know it, several people have come to our aid. Make it a point to say thanks.

Admit it when you’re wrong. It’s easy to say, “Everybody makes mistakes” or “I’m just human” when we get something wrong. But passing it off is quite different from taking ownership and saying, “I was wrong.” Both impact one’s reputation.

Welcome challenges. If all we know is what we’re doing now but when we dare to step out of our comfort zone and take risks it challenges us and inspires others to build our own reputation.

Smile more. A study found that smiling employees are more approachable, likable and appear more competent, as well as more trustworthy, according to University of Pittsburgh researchers.

Take on extra workSure, we all have more than enough on our plate, so why pile on anything more? Extra work lets you demonstrate your ability to shoulder a heavier load. And that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Be careful about complaining. When there’s nothing else to do, it’s complaint time, particularly at lunch or after work. Complaining can be toxic, and those who do it put their reputation at risk.

Thank those who help you. Although we may not admit it, there are many hands pulling up our bootstraps, not just our own. Be generous in expressing appreciation to everyone who literally gives you a hand.

Tell someone when they do a good job. Criticism comes easily, praise not so much. Most people benefit from less of the former and more the latter.


Reputation for Businesses

Meet deadlines. “I didn’t have enough time,” may be the top excuse for failing to meet deadlines, as if something beyond our control intervened and caused us to fail.What really happens is that we run out of time — and that’s due to poor planning.

Come up with ideas to improve something. It isn’t that most people don’t have ideas; it’s simply they’re afraid to present them — what will people think? Maybe it’s stupid. Take a chance. You’ll be surprised.

Give credit to others.It seems as if it diminishes us if we make a point to give a “shout out” to a co-worker. But just the opposite is true. It says we understand what it means to be a team player.

Pitch in when someone is out. Whether it’s taking messages, answering questions, or solving a problem, it says you have their back. It won’t be forgotten.

Ask questions. We’ve all been in meetings where information goes by that’s new, unclear or confusing. Ask a question. Don’t assume you’re the only one who didn’t get it. It shows you’re thinking.

Welcome new co-workers. There’s a reason to be the first: first impressions are indelible, and you will be remembered.

Go out of your way to help customers.Look at these as opportunities, not interferences. They’re memorable. Customers like to talk about the times when someone took did something special for them.

Come up with solutions for problems.Avoid the natural instinct to hold back and play it safe: What if it doesn’t work out? Or it’s rejected? Give it a try and you may be surprised what happens.

Offer suggestions so others don’t trip themselves up.“ Would it be helpful to look at it this way?” or “Have you considered other possibilities?” Such questions can help rescue someone from stepping off a cliff, from making an unnecessary mistake. They won’t forget it.

If you spot a problem, propose a solution. Identifying problems is a popular workplace pastime. Coming up with possible solutions, not so much. One is seen as complaining, the other as being helpful

Step back to get a bigger picture. What’s going on right around us holds our attention, blinding us to the bigger picture, distorting our thinking, and causing us to react inappropriately. It helps to step back so we can see more clearly.

Pay attention to details. Nothing is more disruptive, embarrassing and frustrating than the wrong address or price, a phone number that’s one digit off, a misspelling or something that was left out. Reputations are made on accuracy; the opposite is also true.

Don’t make excuses. It’s quite simple: the opposite of making excuses is taking responsibility. Either way, there’s a reward, one you want and one you don’t.

Avoid having someone remind you.Digital calendars and reminders should eliminate the need for someone to remind us. It hasn’t. The offenders are just more visible.


Benefits of Good Reputation and How do you get your business to stand out from the crowd?

Why is reputation important and how does it benefit your business?

Improve Trust in Your Brand

A full 90% of all consumers visit review sites before visiting a business.  This reveals that trust and reputation are essential factors for most of your customers. By achieving a positive reputation in your customer reviews, you are more likely to ensure that those that do read them will use your products or services.

Increase Customer Loyalty

When you’ve got customers, work hard at keeping them.  If you have a good reputation, your customers will stick by you. When they need something in the future, they will keep coming back to you. Return customers may also provide the perfect springboard for loyalty-based marketing incentives.

Build Brand Recognition

People naturally gravitate towards brands that they know.  If customers know your products and services and recognize elements of your brand image such as your logo or brand colours; they will gain assurance from the sense of familiarity.  If you have developed a good reputation through excellent service and products, brand recognition will likely follow. So, look at ways of making your brand instantly recognizable to your customers.

Reduce Marketing Costs

Word of mouth is a valuable marketing tool. If your customers are saying great things about your brand, then they are doing much of the job of your marketing department.  This can help you to save a considerable sum of money on your marketing costs.  Take full advantage of this in your branding strategy. Utilize social media to engage your loyal customers and encourage them to share their experiences of using your business with their friends.

Improve the Value of Your Business

If your brand has a strong reputation this will translate to positive reviews and brand recognition; both of which are helpful in generating sales. All of this amounts to an increase in the value of your business.
Although brand reputation is not a fixed asset, it can go a long way in increasing the value of your business should you ever decide to sell it.