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According to an E-Commerce Times article, when it comes to business, you’re only as good as your reputation. Indeed, your reputation is your brand. It is the substance your logo represents; it is the glue in customer brand loyalty. In a word, reputation is everything. Yet it’s not entirely under your control.

That doesn’t mean you are helpless as a victim of false accusations, ratings, or wrongful attacks on your company’s character, however. Following are some things you can do to manage your company’s reputation when things go awry despite your best efforts.

Falsehoods and Malice

If you mistreat customers or vendors and dabble in bad business practices, then you’ve earned the badge of ill repute and the cost. An example of that in current events would be Facebook’s stock plunge and Cambridge Analytica’s criminal investigation after allegations of data mining to influence the U.S. presidential election. While time will sort that mess out, the two companies are not likely to regain their former stellar reputations any time soon.

If your reputation gets dinged by outside forces, though, sometimes it really isn’t due to anything you’ve done.

Those problems are all a normal part of doing business, and often the resulting complaints can be rectified with prompt, consistent and considerate attention. However, other problems lurk on the dark side, ranging from trolls and fake reviews to online flame wars.

Effective Reputation Management

First and foremost, remember the golden rule. While treating everyone fairly and conducting your business ethically may not be the straightest path to higher profits in the short term, it will protect your brand in the long term.

Customers and prospects do not expect any company to have a perfect score, so an occasional ding won’t hurt your company.

So don’t over worry that fifth star. Do respond promptly and try to resolve complaints, though. Remember, it’s the consistent effort that ultimately earns your reputation, not the occasional mea culpa.