Build Your Reputation Before You Need It

by Frank L. Williams

At its heart, public relations is about building and maintaining relationships with key publics. Relationships that stand the test of time are rooted in trust. Trustworthiness and credibility are joined at the hip.

Credibility can be defined as the quality of being trusted and believed in or the quality of being convincing or believable. If you lack credibility, you will have difficulty achieving your public relations goals — or any business goals, for that matter.

If you are in business, there are (hopefully) a set of experiences, expertise and accomplishments that form the foundation of your organization’s credibility. These assets should be the cornerstones of your brand reputation.  

To explore this concept, let’s start by looking at some definitions of “reputation”:




  1. the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something;
  2. a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular habit or characteristic.

Your business’ reputation is rooted in how others perceive it. We’ve all heard the saying that “perception is reality.” I would modify that to say that perceptions are real, even if they are inaccurate, and an inaccurate perception can have a tremendous impact on your ability to achieve your goals.

The experiences, expertise and accomplishments that form the foundation of your credibility don’t mean anything if your key publics do not know about them.

In many ways, establishing credibility is like making friends. We’ve all run across people who never gave you the time of day until they needed something. Then suddenly, they wanted to be your new best friend. Far too many leaders adopt this same approach to building and maintaining their organizational reputation. They wait until they need to cash in their credibility to attempt to establish it, but it’s too late.

It’s best to make friends before you need them. The best way to make friends is to be a good friend and add value to others. These same principles apply to building professional relationships and establishing organizational credibility.

The best time to build your organization’s reputation is before you need it. If you need help developing and implementing a strategic communication plan to manage your organization’s brand reputation, drop us a line.

Frank L. Williams

Frank is the founder and president of Pioneer Strategies.