Build and Repair Your Reputation

Do you consider your personal brand?

Do you manage your company’s reputation?

Why is it important to manage your reputation?

Lida Citroen, an expert in the field of reputation management, has a resource to anyone who wants tips to build a reputation that can withstand negative influences and becomes stronger over time. In CONTROL THE NARRATIVE: The Executive’s Guide to Building, Pivoting and Repairing Your Reputation, she instructs us not to leave our reputation to chance and instead encourages all of us to take a proactive stance.

“Today with a stroke on a keyboard we can build and destroy reputations quickly.” -Lida Citroen

Why is reputation management so important today? 

If you consider that how somebody feels about you directly drives their desire to want to endorse you, refer you, and offer you opportunities, then managing that reputation and perception is critical. Reputation is how you’re known. Your ability to drive that reputation and be strategic and intentional about the way people perceive you is why reputation management becomes so important.

I find so many professionals, artists, executives, athletes, entrepreneurs, and others simply believe that if they do good work and show up as a decent person, then the people they care about will understand the value what they offer. They believe that just doing good work means they will have a reputation that is ideal in their mind.  But rarely is it the case. Instead, when we are clear, confident, and strategic about how we want to be known and then we measure and monitor our actions, relationships, and communication against that, then we can manage our reputation in a way that serves us and allows us to serve others.

“Building something as important as your personal brand and reputation requires the same attention you would give any crucial career asset.” -Lida Citroen

How has it evolved in the last several years?

Consider how reputation worked before the advent of social media, telephones, and other communication devices: if someone thought highly of someone else and they wanted to offer a referral, they did it in person. Do you need an accountant? I know a great one! Do you like pizza? I know the best place to go! Today with a stroke on a keyboard we can build and destroy reputations quickly. We are known by who knows us, and how they feel about us. And that’s where the power – and the risk – lies.

Controlling the narrative and driving that story is what matters most today.

“Control” is a strong word. Is it possible to control the narrative?

I love the word control. Often, we think of it as a negative, as in someone is “too controlling.” But control means intentionally driving ideal opportunities, and then deciding clearly which opportunities serve us best. Controlling the narrative means you’re in charge of the story that you tell others about what you stand for, how you want to serve, and the impact you want to be remembered for. It also means you are clear about who you want to serve. Being able to control your own narrative means you are clear about the audiences and communities you want to have the greatest impact with. Shouldn’t we all want to be in control of our own story and not leave it up to others to define us?

Authentic personal brands have almost a magical quality to them.” -Lida Citroen

What are some of the hallmarks of an authentic personal brand?

A strong and sustainable personal brand must be authentic at its roots. Somebody’s motivation must be genuine, their goals must be realistic, and the timeline must be manageable. For example, if somebody wants to be seen as personable and easy to relate to, yet they’re standoffish and shy around others, their motivation might be to be seen as outgoing because they think that’s what others want from them, but it may not be genuine to who they really are. Authentic personal brands must be grounded in reality. Sometimes the hardest conversation I must have with a client is when they say they want something that’s not realistic for them.

Authentic personal brands have almost a magical quality to them. They seem effortless. The person building the brand feels that it should be harder than it is. And those around them find that it is natural and easy to refer them and endorse them. That’s what an authentic personal brand is all about – being strategic and making the opportunities come to you – easily!

If someone lacks a personal brand strategy, what do you notice?

One of the first things I notice when someone doesn’t have a strategy in place for how they want to be known and valued is there isn’t any consistency to how they act or make decisions. Their job history, skill set, and the people they surround themselves with all seem random. I don’t know what they can offer me or how I can help them. And, when I ask about this, the individual is not able to clearly communicate how they all tie together. This is what it means to not have a controlled narrative. In this situation, the individual is likely missing opportunities to be promoted or to get additional resources. They might not be included in important conversations, and they can’t figure out why everything seems to be so hard.

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