Security guard companies will always have a focus on at least 5 key areas – growth, business stability, profitability, client retention, and quality of service. Despite this focus, security guard companies experience strong competition. Customers are spoiled for choice – and there are dozens of brands available, each with varied levels of service and reputations.
Perception management and reputation management remain a challenge for most guard companies. Unfortunately, there are some security guard companies that assume just having a website, some social media, and a blog post is enough.
Managing a company’s reputation requires strategy. This strategy doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, but it has to be done the right way.
You Can Build a Reputation Management Program Without Busting Your Budget
Although large security guard companies have access to generous marketing budgets for consultants or internal teams, it is the smaller and mid-sized security guard company that may feel the pressure to up their game.
There’s no reason why a small or mid-sized security guard company can't be featured in the media or use its public relations and marketing efforts to engage prospective clients. By proactively communicating on a monthly basis, security guard companies can show prospects and current clients why their company is the best at mitigating their risk.
Public Relations Isn’t as Expensive as You Think
One of the biggest misconceptions is that public relations is expensive. Let’s turn this perception on its head. When we think about overall costs - finding a prospective client, signing the contract, servicing the client site every month, and preventing competitors from acquiring your client - losing just one client costs a lot more. Acquiring and retaining clients is much more costly – both in time and money - than the cost of using a reputation management service, or in building out a small internal marketing and communications team.
And let's face it - PR and marketing companies have done themselves no favors. While some over promise and under deliver, others have no specialty or understanding of the physical security sector. This leads to poor service for a steep fee and no added value.
No security guarding company should be holding back on an investment in its reputation. So where do you start?
Building a Reputation Management Plan
Auditing your reputation management plan and needs annually will help reveal what you need to do to give your guarding company positive exposure to prospects. In truth, many tools you’ll need are often inexpensive or free. Here are just a few elements to consider:
Press Releases can produce positive exposure
When looking to build a constant news stream about your company, press releases are the way to do that. Press releases help you achieve your business goals and have potential in reaching thousands more customers on a monthly basis than your entire sales team. However, just keep in mind that sending out a press release won't directly result in the signing of new customers.
Writing Articles can Boost your Authority within the Community
Finding and getting a great security publication to publish a bylined article will help your company position itself as an expert in the field. Plus, you be able to show what your company is capable of in a far more credible way than if you personally told everyone how great you are. Don’t forget - when people read about you, they will believe what they read from a third-party more than if you told them. Here’s a tip - when you want to inform and educate your prospects on how great your company is, using a client case study (if you can get a customer to do this) will be the best form of endorsement.
Be Mindful of How you Use your Social Media Accounts
Some security guard companies are tempted to use social media as their only marketing tool. They think that by having Facebook and Twitter, that is all they need. While both Facebook and Twitter are crucial social communication platforms, some security guard companies can accidentally shoot themselves in the foot. They think that by tweeting out an article from a magazine or newspaper, it’ll counts as marketing. Our team has seen countless times where companies tweet out articles from publications that mention their competitors. Social media content needs a strategy with achievable objectives. And all of this must be connected to your business and marketing plans.
Expect the Best; Prepare for the Worst
Of course, managing the risk and security for clients, and having a workforce that properly deals with those clients, is not without its operational risks. Where there are operational risks, there are reputational risks. No security company that values its reputation should be without a reputation management plan. This is especially critical during a crisis. Crisis communication plans help to defend and protect reputations and minimize risks while PR plans are designed to build and maintain reputations. They work together and should never exist in isolation.
The whole objective of building a reputation for your security guarding company is to see it as an investment. It’s something that, if done correctly, will deliver immense value and help your business, its brand, and its reputation stand out. It will certainly help to influence perceptions and could very well be a solid contributor to your business’ success.
Check out this Reputation Management webinar to learn more about the basic components of a public relations plan, the components of a crisis communications plan, how to minimize the chance of a negative review from a disgruntled client, and the reason why a disorganized social media and blogging strategy is more hurtful than helpful.