It’s a misnomer to think you can own your reputation. You really can’t because your reputation is based on other peoples’ opinions of you. That said, you can own your message – and owning your message is the best way to influence other peoples’ opinions. Unfortunately, owning your message takes effort.
Step 1: Get a clear handle on “who you are” (as opposed to just “what you do.”)
This is all about introspection. Serious introspection. It involves isolating your firm’s core values and beliefs, and determining a clear answer to the question, “why should an investor care?”
Step 2: Ask the market
If you really want to know what your LPs think about you and what problem you help solve for them – just ask. They are your partners and want to help.
While you’re at it – it’s worth asking about their experience with your firm (and your peers, as well).
Step 3: Define your message – and take the first step toward shaping your reputation
What do you want the market to know you as? Put another way…what are the 2 or 3 most important things you want an investor to know about you before you walk into a first meeting?
How about after?
Step 4: Get buy-in from your team
Convincing others starts with convincing yourself.
If you are going to shape how the market thinks about you, you need everyone to project a single, consistent message. And then empower them to act as an ambassador of the firm.
Step 5: Nurture Your Existing Relationships
LPs and partners should be your biggest advocates. They are in the best position to help you influence market perception. They’ve told you what they want (Step 2). Give it to them. There is really no excuse for not taking care of these relationships and making things as easy as possible for them.
Step 6: Make a plan
There is no “one size fits all” playbook to brand building and reputation development. Every situation is different. But one thing that all situations require is a good, thoughtful plan, deliberate effort, and most importantly, a whole lot of perseverance.
Fortunately, you have a bunch of brand pillars to build your message around. Remember – the objective isn’t merely to create awareness and engagement; the objective is to control the narrative. If you can take control of your narrative, you have the best shot at taking control of your reputation.
As we like to say, everyone has a story – but that story is made up. The question we ask is, who made up yours? You or the market?