Firm’s Reputation Crucial Yet Fragile

Staten Island commercial bank sees strong reasons to mind business P’s and Q’s


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – A national poll has provided further proof that a firm's reputation influences a consumer's purchasing decision.


Victory State Bank, Staten Island's only community-based commercial bank, asserts that an enterprise showing social awareness may get a leg up in the marketplace.

The Harris poll disclosed that slightly more than half of U.S. adults (51 percent) say that a company's reputation for being socially responsible at least sometimes affects their decision-making about what to buy, with 17 percent feeling strongly about this and 34 percent indicating it sometimes affects their decisions.

An additional 25 percent say it affects their purchase decision-making once in a while and 17 percent say it has no effect at all, according to the poll last summer.

The need to monitor and remedy online reputations has given rise to what is being called reputation management.

And because online reputations often can originate elsewhere, there are strategies for fixing them.

Public relations firms experienced in helping businesses express their public identity are part of this trend. One local firm, for example, is Staten Island-based Relevant Public Relations LLC.

Firms like Relevant PR, founded and operated by Barton Horowitz, counsel with clients not only about media communications, which include social media, but also about presenting informative descriptions of a business to customers.

Horowitz’s background combines experiences from retail ownership and from insights gained as a daily business journalist.

“Digital technology has enhanced the way brands are marketed, making social media and other online activity a viable component of public relations strategies,” Horowitz said. “Online marketing has created new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to efficiently – and cost-effectively – reach their targeted audiences. In order to succeed for the long term, such marketing efforts require a foundation of honesty and a sincere commitment to customer satisfaction. Carelessness – or just not caring – can arguably harm both the reputation and bottom line of a business."

Reputation management often drills down to the basics. A firm in Phoenix, for example, recommends that a business first commit to customer service: Great online reputation starts at the source, Walter Halicki, CEO, says in a press release.

He adds that “Companies cannot have a positive reputation if they are not giving the customer their best.”

Ensure that every staff member takes pride in his or her job and is fully committed to offering an amazing customer experience, he advises.

Additionally, he says to ensure that managers are interacting with customers and actively showing interest in the needs of the clients. This shows that a company cares and will led to better reviews and buzz about the brand, which can do wonders for their online landscape.

As if to reinforce this, a pointer from Pressbox in the U.K. says “Your employees should always have kind treatment by you. If you don't, it will come back to harm you in the end. If others know that you don't treat employees well, they may not want to do business with you.”

As others in the field can attest, Halicki in Phoenix says that one of the biggest things to keep in mind when it comes to business reputation management is that looking great online is a long process.

Another firm, this one in the Atlanta, Ga. area, advises readers of a press release that or can be visited “to locate every online instance of your business name popping up.”

You only need to use one, GBHJ Global says, “but any of them can let you know if anyone out there is misrepresenting your business or speaking ill of you.”

It advises to “Pay attention to the reputation your business has offline. Your offline reputation will make its way into the online world. If negative content on your company becomes a trend, you need to know why.”


About Victory State Bank

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office is in the community of Great Kills, and branches are in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at