“It’s what a company looks like.”
“It’s the symbol a company uses.”
“It’s where you burn a symbol into your arm.”
Above are some answers you might receive if you were to ask, “What is branding?” While they may all have something to do with it, these answers are leaving some very important sides out…like your reputation.
Branding encompasses all components of a company from its customer service to the conduct of its employees. Everything involved with a company is part of their brand.
Most college fraternities and sororities have a rule that does not allow their members to drink in their Greek letters. It all boils down to reputation management. If they were caught doing something stupid in their letters, there would be major repercussions. No one likes to do reputation damage control or explain to the university why so-and-so from XYZ went snorkeling in the fountain on Parents Weekend. It is important to have preventative measures in place whether or not the rules are followed. The same goes for online.
Today, social media can spread the word about your organization–good or bad–like wildfire. Keeping close tabs on how you appear to the public is a must! How your employees conduct themselves on- and offline says a lot about your brand to your customer.
Nothing online is totally secure and employees need to remember this. Accounts can be hacked. Personal information and comments can be extracted and displayed for all the world to see. Worst of all, it never completely goes away. All of this has the potential to reflect back on your company.
A written online conduct policy is vital for today’s employees and employers as a first step to preventing potential disasters. Contracts have a tendency to make people think….sometimes. An organization may not be able to control what their target audience has to say about them, but at least the employees know what is expected of them. They represent their employer both on and off the clock.