A Strategy Guide for Brand Reputation Management
The importance of brand reputation is an often underestimated aspect of running a business. Most entrepreneurs tend to confuse between brand image and brand reputation. While they seem the same, there is a slight difference between the two. Brand image concerns itself with the public perception of a certain brand and is usually limited to potential clients. Brand reputation, on the other hand, is the overall opinion of a business’ corporate actions.
Brand image can literally be ‘manufactured’ by proper marketing and advertising but brand reputation is something that is developed over a certain period of time. The misinterpretation between the two costs newer businesses important clients. Maintaining reputation is as important as maintaining brand image.
Let us take the example of Toyota. Toyota’s brand image is synonymous with reliability, efficiency, and quality. However, most agree that the car company is not what it used to be. Toyota still has an excellent brand image but its reputation is declining. This guide will give you tips on how to manage and grow your brand’s reputation.
Before we go into how to manage brand reputation, the first thing to look at is what spoils brand reputation as a whole.
Lack of Online Presence
In the current world, not having a respectable online presence makes your business less trustworthy. Developing a good brand reputation begins with developing a good online presence. Be active on social media and market your business online incessantly.
Nearly 60% of people surf the Internet read about a brand online before purchasing from a business. Hence, an online presence is absolutely necessary for your brand to even begin developing a reputation.
Negative Social Presence
The second thing harming your brand reputation is a negative social presence. Some brands with good online presence end up badmouthing their direct competitors, customers or their own employees online. Such activity can destroy brand reputation faster than you can apologize.
A fair competition strategy is good but badmouthing a brand never goes well. Remember, Enzo Ferrari, badmouthed a tractor manufacturer who then started Lamborghini. The end result would be the same today. The world may have moved online but nobody will ever like a bully. From a more recent example, the Gillette controversy from the previous year is something that Gilette still cannot shake off.
Negative Online Reviews & Social Media Backlash
Negative online reviews for your product/service will exist no matter how competent your product might be. You cannot avoid criticism but dealing with it is important for your brand reputation. How fast you respond to a negative review and how you respond to it determines how your brand reputation will evolve.
Social media backlash over a controversy is similar. Sometimes, people online may call out brands for their mistakes. If the blame is true, just take it. Companies that deny their mistakes often fall into more intricate scandals and destroy their reputation.
Even a rumor of a corporate crisis or poor management can hurt brand reputation. No company can avoid crisis but mitigating it is key to maintaining brand reputation. A company should maintain its stoic nature and deal with internal crises silently and swiftly.
How to Maintain your Brand Reputation?
Maintaining brand reputation is dealing with the problems mentioned above efficiently and swiftly. The following steps will tell you how you can manage your brand reputation.
Have a significant online presence
Online presence is the first step to make a brand reputation. Have a good SEO strategy for your website and blogs. Many consumers judge a brand’s reputation by its google search rankings and high rankings will help your brand more than anything. Keep your strategy fresh and concentrate on SEO.
Market your brand through a well-maintained blog. Make sure that you regularly post on your blog since this also helps your SEO rankings. Content marketing can help with lead generation and direct potential clients to your sales funnel. Content marketing lets you place your company as an informative source on your industry and helps your brand’s reputation a lot.
Listen to Feedback and Be ‘Good’ on Social Media
Most companies fail at listening to their followers. Engage with your followers, take their advice and most of all respect it. Do not mock your customers and potential clients. Even if you don’t agree with that they want to do not publicly show your rejection. A simple “We’ll look into it” works as a good response.
Try not to comment on sensitive issues and take care of how you reply to queries and problems. Promote your brand through social media and advertise your products/services.
Maintaining Public Relations
Once online presence is sorted, the next step to managing your business reputation is having a strong public relations team. Regularly showcase goodwill and keep your company process as transparent as possible. It’s agreed that certain aspects of your company must be kept a secret, but try to practice transparency wear your can.
Focus on Customer Experience
Most customers choose products based on a reputation of customer experience and support. Make sure that your customer experience is on-point and support is everlasting. Personalize the experience to make it even better. The advantage of focusing on customer experience is that satisfied customers often make good brand advocates and help spread your company’s reputation by word-of-mouth.
Employee satisfaction is an underrated part of brand reputation management. As the saying goes, appearances are skin-deep. Your company’s brand reputation also exists in how well you treat your employees. Companies with positive employee satisfaction find better talent which helps in improving brand quality which eventually leads to a better brand reputation. Protect and respect your employees.
Maintain a good website and keep refreshing its appearance and content. Google rankings can also be helped by having a strong social media presence, especially on Facebook and Youtube. Get your brand a respectable number of followers.
With the increase in competition, brand reputation is crucial for a successful business. Use the practices given above to their fullest and focus on the customer experience, customer and employee satisfaction, and catering to all customers’ needs, and your reputation as a customer-centric brand will steadily grow.