Establishing and protecting a reputation in business is no small feat. It can be especially difficult, when faced with a lawsuit, to improve your public profile. Most situations can benefit immensely from the involvement of experienced professionals, who can help a business person to regain control of their image and improve public perception. Whether you’re a high-profile corporate executive who can afford to hire a team of experts, or a small business owner trying to manage your reputation on your own, here are a few tricks of the trade:
1.Steer clear of confrontation. Whether you’re giving an interview to a local reporter or shopping at the supermarket, avoid argument. Whether someone is yelling at you about your lawsuit or trying to cut in front of you in line, you should avoid confrontation as much as possible. Regarding your lawsuit, don’t try to defend yourself – especially on social media. Understand that people have their impressions, and you aren’t going to change any minds by raising your voice. Plus, nowadays camera phones are everywhere and they rarely capture context. The last thing you need is people seeing you lose your cool.
2.Be transparent. Most people try to keep business matters private, and often act naturally-guarded on certain topics. As someone facing a lawsuit and trying to improve your reputation, it’s important that you not create the impression that you’re trying to hide things. If someone has questions – whether about your business or your legal matters – answer calmly and concisely. There are some things related to litigation that you shouldn’t discuss, but don’t act guarded unnecessarily or about separate issues. Instead, try to be as open as possible. If reviews or audits come your way, submit to them; and stay calm and collected.
3.Get your message out. This step is important and especially complicated, because it’s critical that you frame your communications properly. This is the area where most people require the help of experts. You need to settle on a message, make sure it puts you in the best light and on the right side of an issue; then you need to make sure it’s properly placed to generate positive perception among the proper audience. It can’t be seen as desperate, underhanded, two-faced, fake, or argumentative. This can be a very difficult tone to strike.
4.Look for philanthropic opportunities. It can be especially beneficial to attach yourself to causes that you care about, or on the right side of an issue that’s important to you (or relevant to your lawsuit). Try not to put yourself in a position that’s too high-profile or appears as though you’re trying to take advantage of a charity for your own purposes. Either of these can have a negative effect and hurt your reputation even more. Instead, try to find small ways to help. Ease into this step – don’t dive in head-first.
5.Avoid bad press. Though it may sound obvious, while your lawsuit is going on it’s very important that you not find yourself the subject of headlines for other negative reasons. Stay out of trouble. Don’t put yourself in any compromising position, and avoid associating with anyone who might find themselves in trouble.
6.Keep your business dealings immaculate. If you’re in business, this is a step you should follow regardless of whether you’re facing a lawsuit. However, when litigation is involved and you’re already in the public spotlight, this is especially critical. Don’t do anything in your business that could generate complaints from clients, employees or business partners. Make sure you pay all your bills in full and on time. Go out of your way to make sure that every aspect of your business is strictly above board.
Lawsuits are never positive or pleasant experiences. They are naturally contentious, stressful occurrences; and, typically, very complex. Often, then involve issues that a lot of people don’t fully understand, which they won’t take the time to study to know exactly what’s being argued. Instead, people will rush to judgment or make snap decisions influenced by public perception, after which it will be very difficult to change their minds. To protect, let alone improve your reputation in business during this time will be very difficult. There are lots of experts who will claim they can help; some will be necessary, especially for managing certain parts. This can be a complex situation to manage on your own but, hopefully, this guide will help to keep you on the right track.
As a Suffolk native, Sara came to work at Net Lawman after graduating at the top of her class at the University of Suffolk. She is passionate about law and only seeks to educate her clients to the best of her ability. In her spare time, Sara loves to spend time outdoors with her partner and two dogs. They often go on bike rides around the city.