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Reputation Management: Do your customers' experiences match your brand messages?

This is the second part in a three-part series on reputation management. Click here to view Part 1. 

A top priority for any small business owner should be the management of the company’s reputation. While this may sound like an obvious statement, there’s often more to reputation management than business owners realize. Often, they focus so much on what the company does and says (the company’s identity), which is very important, of course. However, what’s equally important is to be aware of what customers say about the company (its image). Reputation management bridges the gap between a company’s identity and its image.

So, how do you find out what customers say about your company? Well, you ask them! But, it’s important to pay close attention to what you ask them.

With the focus today on online reviews, gathering customer input often is limited to asking for a review. Of course, if a customer had a fabulous experience with your company and let you know in some way – through an appreciative email, an in-store exchange or a comment posted on your social media – by all means, ask her to post a review in a public forum (where your other current and potential customers can find it). However, if you are considering a comprehensive audit of how your brand is doing among all customers, a strategic survey is in order.

Paid research is one of the best investments you can make in your company. When you are able to control the data being gathered, you can drill down much deeper into your customers’ input.

So, what types of questions do you ask? Go back to your brand’s messages – what you say your company offers – and formulate questions that test whether your customers’ experiences match those messages. Give opportunities for additional comments, where applicable, but be clear about what you want to know from them. A general question that asks, “How satisfied were you with your last visit at our store?” may help chart out overall satisfaction with the in-store experience, but a series of more specific questions, such as “What did you think when you first walked into our store?” and “What was your favorite part of the in-store shopping experience?” will garner insight that wouldn’t be collected from a general question.

When you know your customers’ experiences, you are not only able to ensure they align with your brand messages, but you may also discover new brand messages – ways your customers are using or engaging with your brand that you weren’t aware of.

Kerri Guyton is the director of brand content at Obsidian Public Relations.

Posted: 3/15/2017 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: ObsidianPR, SmallBusiness

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

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Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

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Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

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Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

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