Posted January 18, 2012 4:00 pm by with 1 comment

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70% of consumers said they wouldn’t buy a product from a company they didn’t like.

That may sound like I’m stating the obvious, but let’s run with it for a moment.

The statement comes from a new Weber Shandwick report called “The Company behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust.” The report is focused on big companies with multiple brands, but the information is just as relevant for the small business owner.

The overall concept is that folks are getting pickier about where they spend their money. A great product won’t woo them, if the company behind the product can’t be trusted.

Trust means different things on different levels. For big corporations, it might mean a company that is concerned about the environment, cares about its customers and makes good when a product goes bad.

On a smaller scale, it might mean a small business who gives back to the community by investing in a local school. It might be an online company with an easy and liberal return policy. Or a business that puts quality over quantity.

Can We Talk

How does a business get a good reputation? It’s all word of mouth. 88% say that’s how they form an opinion about a company. 83% said they were influenced by online reviews and 81% said by online search results (not sure about that one.)

When asked what they talk about in regard to companies, 69% say the conversation begins at product level.

As you can see from this chart, they also discuss environmental issues, community involvement and customer service. Let me emphasis that last one. CUSTOMER SERVICE.

This is my number one reason for mentioning a company on social media, poor or exceptionally good customer service. And I bet you can guess which one of those two I post more often.

The long and short of it is this: it’s not enough to have a good product. You have to have a good reputation in order to sell that product. Whether you’re selling physical goods, virtual goods, a service or a meal, how the public perceives your company can make or break you.

What are people saying about your company? Run a Google search, check review sites and social media. It’s scary, I know but it’s better to find out now then wonder what happened when you come up short at the end of the year.

Click here to read the full “The Company behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust” report.

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