You want all stakeholders to hold your firm in high regard. Doing well in the marketplace will satisfy shareholders and offering quality products and services keeps customers happy, but how do you appeal to employees, vendors and citizens of the communities in which you have a presence?

Data Usage

Companies amass incredible quantities of data and what they do with that information has a direct effect on their public image. Security must be the number one priority regarding information technology. Protecting customer data will keep your firm out of embarrassing headlines and costly lawsuits, while guarding company specifics and proprietary information aid in maintaining your competitive advantage. Other IT concerns such as supply chain analytics help a company streamline logistics, optimize operations and forecast market trends more accurately, ensuring better performance throughout the business cycle.

CSR Measures

Corporate social responsibility measures are a way for a company to act as a good citizen. Manufacturers and producers practice CSR when they purchase raw materials from ethical suppliers, reduce their carbon footprint, show preference for local vendors and recycle waste. Service providers and retailers can use green energy, implement fair hiring practices, extend benefits to part-time employees and encourage community service.

Social Media Presence

Firms benefit most from CSR policies when they publicize them to customers, potential customers and communities. Social media platforms are ideal for this kind of publicity. Because they are interactive, they allow a company to create a sense of community among followers down the street and around the world. Two-way communication makes social media ideal for customer service as well—keep track of each time your business is mentioned on the internet, then address complaints and reward compliments. Monitor ratings and review sites vigilantly and they will provide the same valuable information as pricey industry consultants.

Say No

Building a brand involves a degree of specialization. Excel in some areas and stay out of others. You wouldn’t throw darts with no bull’s-eye to aim at and no numbers on the board. Likewise, each company needs a target and a way to measure themselves against competitors. That doesn’t mean never trying a new product or offering an innovative service; it does mean utilizing your strengths and knowing your weaknesses. New ventures should grow organically from current ventures. If you manufacture lawn furniture you may also want to produce decking or indoor furniture, but there is no reason to suspect you can make top quality roofing supplies. Examine each new path carefully and don’t be afraid to take a few “less traveled” roads—just make sure they won’t lead to dead ends.