Why Reputation Matters & What It Takes

The reputation we have is made from the opinions of others. It also shapes the characters of who we are.

On our local Green meeting the inventor of the Buttafly

Whilst I don’t consider myself to have a stellar reputation, what I see from around me is from continually showing up.

The Bournemouth Echo comments section of their website is a weird and wonderful place, as long as you are not the one getting lampooned. I found myself being mentioned with regards to a news article about a local playground. A reader left a comment, “Someone needs to get Gordon Fong onto this sharpish!”

Bournemouth Echo readers…

No doubt it was written with tongue firmly in cheek, but that same day also saw a direct message from that campaigner asking for my advice and support. That week also had someone approach me with a great idea for a community book project to celebrate our high street.

Whilst I may not be a person to deliver and bring actions to life by myself, I am viewed as someone who can help and get stuck in.

It seems like my reputation has proceeded me.

This isn’t a “how to build a personal brand” article but sharing what I have done and how this is something that others can develop. As Trevor Young highlighted in a recent Reputation Revolution newsletter, “If you believe in being open and generous with your ideas, insights and expertise, then don’t hold back!.”

This is how building your own personal brand is within your reach.

  1. Get out there. I am more selective on what meetings, conferences, exhibitions, and networking events to go to. We have all learned from the pandemic that virtual events do work and we can save so much time, but if you want to build and cement relationships, then meeting in person is one aspect that has worked for me. This has worked for me in my interactions with Dorset Council and BCP Council, ending in work that they approached us with rather than us pitching.
  2. Be welcoming. Opposite to getting out there and travelling, I regularly say yes to people who want to meet me in my neighbourhood. It provides me with a chance to show off what we have in terms of the independent businesses thriving here and I can talk about the community projects and future aspirations. This equally applies to the Innovation Park and BattleLab when people want to come and visit.
  3. Be visible both physically and digitally. I try to back up the physical meetings where appropriate with social media posts to show that I am present but also varied. It helps to convey the people that I want to meet and the environments too.
  4. Do more than expected. Meeting and talking is a great first step, but being active and doing something tangible is even better, it doesn’t matter how small. I share as much as I can on social media of other people’s work. That’s easy. What is slightly harder, is stepping forward and doing something, whether it’s to organise a cyber security awareness event, or a community walking group to help people meet new people. You get to know as someone who will step forward and do something.
  5. Take responsibility for your actions. When my business created our new hosting facility at the Dorset Innovation Park it had risks associated with it, not just whether it would work for all staff and would all the hype turn out to be real. Things have worked in our favour and I continue to share the benefits, challenges and outcomes that came our way.
  6. Learn from others. I have met people such as Farbod Shakouri to learn about augmented reality and how games engines are already an important core technology for the future. I’ve reached out to digital consultancy, Adido unafraid to ask basic questions in digital that some might say that my 20 years as a web business owner should know more about.
  7. Try to find answers and solutions. When I’ve met people, campaigners putting in their all, who ask for advice I will try and make time to help. In some cases it’s with words such as the local play park, in others it’s with action such as the Pokesdown Train Station song idea, and the videos on what community means and looks to move forward into a physical manifestation that I hope to share soon.

It wasn’t a strategy of mine to carve a reputation, but when it happens it means you don’t have to shout all the time or brag about your achievements, it is what other people see, hear and acknowledge.

The secret is small pieces over a long period. Trust me, it can be done.

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Gordon Fong

Gordon Fong

Lives in Southbourne, business locations in Bournemouth and Winfrith. Web, hosting and consultancy.