What does it mean to build a reputation? I’m not talking about brand recognition, or even the quality of the products or services you offer. Those things are important; however, a reputation is something more. It’s the little things…those moments of unprompted kindness and consideration that stick with you for a lifetime. In other words, the stuff that you truly remember.
Encouraging those small acts of kindness, as Julie Sims explains so well in her post “Kindness is Magic,” starts with your staff. Being nice may be its own reward, but it also has real benefits for your reputation.
Kindness Leaves a Lasting Impression
Small acts of kindness are often spontaneous; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for them. The trick is creating an environment where those acts aren’t just accepted, they’re encouraged. When employees see managers and team leaders putting kindness at the forefront, they’re more likely to follow suit. One act of kindness often inspires another. Here are some examples:
Encourage: Encourage employees to help one another tackle challenges. This may sound overly simple, but we’ve all been in the position of needing help without knowing where to turn. Being proactive in those situations can earn you a dedicated employee – or customer – for a lifetime.
Listen: An act of kindness toward a co-worker may not necessarily have much to do with work, and that’s fine, too. Be kind, be yourself, and never forget to listen.
Reward: Kindness in the workplace should be rewarded publicly. You don’t have to start handing out “be nice bonuses,” but it’s important to recognize kind acts in order to encourage more of the same.
Keep it small: Remember that kind gestures don’t have to be grand gestures. Lending an ear or a kind word to someone in need requires little effort, and often makes a big difference.
It’s not revolutionary to say that kindness leads to more kindness or that small gestures can have a lasting impact. Those old clichés just happen to be especially relevant in modern marketing. In a world dominated by social and digital media, kind acts (and not-so-kind acts) live forever.
Think about the stories that you see shared most often on your favorite social site. Yes, there will be politicking, opinionated viewpoints and negativity. But if you pull back and look at the big picture, you’ll notice that people also love sharing stories about acts of kindness. We all get a boost from those little moments, and it turns out that most of us enjoy sharing that boost with as many people as possible.
Be More Than a Brand
Having a strong, recognizable brand is a great thing. It’s just not the only thing. Your reputation can’t be measured in impressions or page views, but it builds up over time just the same. One of the biggest advantages of digital media is that it allows organic acts of kindness to be amplified in ways that simply weren’t possible in the past.
Do something kind for a friend, coworker or stranger, and they’ll likely pass it on. Maybe they’ll share about it on social, or maybe they’ll just keep it in the back of their mind and send you some referrals down the line. When you leave a trail of kindness in your wake, people will take notice. Your reputation is worth the effort. You can never lose by remembering to #JustBeNice.
Author: Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist, and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators. In March 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR. Ted left his position as Chief Social Marketing Officer of Collective Bias on August 31, 2013. He remains a shareholder.