Did you know your agency’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets? Practising proactive reputation management should therefore be top of your list! If it isn’t, take note, this crash-course on reputation is my gift to you.
Blogger: Jo-Anne Oliveri (CIPS, TRC) ireviloution intelligence Managing Director
An understanding of ‘reputation’ is essential if you want your agency to succeed.Put simply, reputation is made up of two parts – identity and image.
Your ‘agency identity’ is the internal behaviour of your agency. This is determined by your organisational mission, vision and goals which form the foundations of your organisational culture.
This organisational culture is then communicated to your consumers, and other stakeholders, using tools such as your agency’s logo, tagline, headquarters, website, dress code, advertisements and so on which fuse together to create an identifiable brand personality.
This personality is then perceived by your consumers and results in your ‘agency image’ – how your consumers see your agency.
Reputation management is about controlling this identity and image. Your goal is to ensure they always match. As a general rule, how you perceive your agency is the same way you want your consumers to perceive it. You can control how your consumers see you simply by putting your money where your mouth is – deliver the promises you promise. Because, when your consumers’ experiences with your agency constantly align with your agency’s identity you get a solid agency reputation.
But beware, a solid agency reputation is not something you achieve and then cross off the list! As well as being one of your most valuable assets it is also one of your most volatile. A seemingly small mishap could cause a long-standing reputation to crumble.
Ongoing reputation management is key to ensure this doesn’t happen and ‘legitimacy gaps’ do not occur – when you do not deliver on promises so your consumers lose faith in you. Unmanaged legitimacy gaps lead to reputation damage which is more costly than you may be aware. You lose trust, loyalty and managements and winning these back is no small task requiring extra resources and a committed effort.
A striking example of costly reputation damage is the Lance Armstrong brand. As you know, Lance finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs and everything his brand represented and promised literally vanished overnight. With his reputation destroyed, he lost his consumers’ trust and loyalty and, in this case, can never win them back. His merchandise sales plummeted whilst his tales of victory now collect dust in the fiction section of libraries. This is reputation damage at its finest.
But, breathe a sigh of relief, whilst such reputation ‘destroying’ cases can and do occur, most of the time potentially harmful legitimacy gaps can be repaired before any major damage takes place. Good reputation management closes these gaps but proactive reputation management ensures these gaps never occur in the first place. This is what all business owners and principals should aim for.
So, to wrap up this crash-course on reputation, I urge you to practise proactive reputation management by consistently and strategically allocating resources to maintain legitimacy in all areas of your agency, especially those areas that your reputation are built on. Delivering the promises you promise ensures your agency’s identity and consumers’ image of your organisation are constantly aligned which reduces the likelihood of legitimacy gaps occurring, and as such any costly reputation damage, and instead works on building and maintaining a solid agency reputation to win you loyal consumers and long-term success.
Jo-Anne Oliveri (CIPS, TRC) ireviloution intelligence Managing Director
As a former member of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland Property Management Chapter and Property Chapter Committee for the Leading Agents of Australia, Jo-Anne Oliveri (CIPS, TRC) is often called ‘the property management guru’. After nearly 20 years real estate experience, Jo-Anne established ireviloution intelligence to lead positive change in this industry. ireviloution provides property management systems (training and resources), consulting, mentoring, workshops, due diligence and prognosis services to principals and their property management teams. This innovative service offers a world-first – online training that measures competency, monitors progress and teaches systems which streamline, systemise and simplify all property management processes.