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It’s a bittersweet moment when you send your child off to college. You pack the car up with their dorm supplies, drop them off and start praying real hard that all goes well. At some point you’ve lectured them how the next few years will determine the trajectory of their life. Maybe they heard you and maybe not — most likely they’ll need to figure it out on their own.
My daughter decided to study criminology. This summer she had the opportunity to do the “Future Officer in Training” program with the FBI. It’s a community outreach program where high school students get a first-hand experience on what it takes to become a special agent. She also got a first-hand experience on what it takes to get up at the crack of dawn every morning and commute into downtown D.C. Huzzah! At the end of the program, parents were invited to attend a graduation ceremony where there were speeches, much congratulations and photo opps for the teens.
I was struck by what Special Agent Roberts shared. (I have no idea if it is ok to mention real names or not … so we’ll just play it safe and call him Special Agent Roberts.) It wasn’t so much about what he said, but what he chose to speak about. Candidates for the program, he explained, weren’t selected merely on their grade point average. They would be going off to college for the next 4 years, and may … hopefully, return to the FBI as a prospective agent. His sole message to these young adults was to protect your reputation … your reputation with your co-workers; your reputation in the community; your reputation within your industry. As a Special Agent your reputation and your credibility is your job.
I’ll side-step recent politics and merely say: As the organization that’s historically been a flag-bearer of integrity, they still have a lot of PR work to do. But it’s good to hear the bureau is aware and doubling up on efforts to regroup.
So what’s marketing point in all this? (Because we’re always looking at everything through a marketing lens.) It’s that Agent Robert’s point is valid for us all. What is your reputation? If it’s been damaged, how do you go about repairing it? Long gone are the days where businesses could stick their head in the sand. Social media is here to stay. If you choose to ignore it, you do so at your own peril. Credibility, reliability, and longevity aren’t special – they’re now the expected baseline. Your clients and prospective clients want more. They want to hear from you on a regular basis. They want photos worse than a first-time grandmother. They want video to watch you tell your story and see how you’re doing. They want little love notes … and articles to educate them and present you as the industry leader.
So how’s your reputation? Is the engine firing on all cylinders? Or maybe you just need a little boost? Give us a call. We’re here and we can help.