This post was updated on April 25th, 2019.
Opinions shared throughout the Internet matter so much, that 80% of potential customers changed their purchasing decision based on negative comments. And that’s only one of many ways bar reputation could harm your business. Protecting your brand reputation should be on the top of your priorities list.
PR nightmares, social media crisis, “blackest Fridays”, et cetera. Everyone has to care about risk reduction and consumer dissatisfaction. The best way to prevent the latter is to care – both about your product and your prospects.
In order to prevent, you need to listen. Listen to what your customers say about your company, what your competitors are up to, and how your messages affect your brand reputation.
In this post, we’ll tak about how to protect your brand against issues that might damage your reputation.
Here’s what’s ahead of us today:
What is brand protection?
Brand protection is a very broad term, as it affects many different aspects of your business presence. Starting with your logo, other visual characteristics, packaging, online presence, and any other distinctive marks of your company.
Protecting your logo is relatively easy. All you have to do is register it with the right authority in your country and you could prosecute anyone who harms your brand to the fullest extend of the law.
A vital step in brand protection is ensuring that your passwords are changed frequently and are somewhat harder to guess than “qwerty” or “p@s$w0rd”.
I know it sounds like a truism, but you’ll be surprised how many companies still don’t pay enough attention to password protection.
The third step in ensuring that your brand is protected both online and offline is preparing a crisis response plan.
They say you should always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Pre-crisis planning allows you to react quickly, which is likely to minimize damage should the emergency occur.
Since we are experts in online brand protection, we’d like to elaborate a bit more on this topic.
In the online world, the burden of protecting your brand lies with you. You have to stay on top of things and monitor all the online chat regarding your company or product.
Since we’re experts in social listening, we prepared a short guide on how to protect your brand’s reputation with social listening.
How to protect your brand online?
As we can read in How Top Performers Use Social Listening to Protect Brand Reputation report, “
companies not only need to listen to the perpetual chatter of online conversation (…), but to also respond to a consumer who is voicing their discontent in a timely and effective manner.
It is like they say: prevention is better than cure: the easiest & safest way of protecting yourself is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place.
Having the right social listening tools allows you to identify and track mentions in real time so you can discover any suspicious social media activity, as well as react to both positive and negative comments. You can also get alerts which immediately bring any suspected activity to your attention.
If it so happens that you’ve received a negative comment, deal with it right away.
Social media and the availability of the Internet gets you as much exposure as possible – both for better, and for worse.
See the graph below? That kind of spike can mean both good… and bad things. Listening helps you discover exactly what you’re dealing with.
You can even go as far as to create communication guidelines for critical situations. No matter the business you’re in, your first responsibility is taking care of a dissatisfied customer in a way that’s professional, but also not shy of basic human emotions.
If you don’t know about something regarding your product or your product’s application – just say it, and then do your best to fill the gaps in your knowledge. If it’s somebody else who’ll be speaking through social media on your behalf, put up an internal Wiki page and a FAQ. It will make both your employees’ and yours lives easier.
How to react to negative comments?
You received a notification, and someone is not happy with your product or service. That happens to the best of the best, so don’t panic.
Instead, you should put a plan into action. First of all, time is of the essence. The faster you react, the better the chance you’ll be able to turn the tables around.
Secondly, listen to your clients and investigate the matter. Sometimes, it’s just a miscommunication, sometimes it’s your fault, and sometimes the customer is at fault.
However, when it comes to brand protection, there is so much more than just collecting and reacting to mentions!
When it comes to brand protection, these features will be the most useful:
Sentiment analysis will tell you how your customers feel about your brand. Remember that spike on the graph above and how we said it might mean good things but it can also signify really bad news?
Sentiment analysis tells you which one is it. A high number of interactions with negative sentiment indicates a social media crisis in the making.
Positive sentiment, on the other hand, is a signal of a successful social media presence.
Brand24 automatically assigns sentiment to posts: neutral, positive or negative.
All data mining tools still have problems with attaching right sentiment when people are ironic. We give you an option to choose the right sentiment manually. And our AI team is working hard on improving this feature!
Relevant read: What is Sentiment Analysis and How to Do It Yourself
The best part is that you can turn negative sentiment into positive if you react in time. Your customers love to see your reply to their comments. According to a study by Jay Baer and Edison Research, 53% of customers expect a reply on review sites.
Everyone loves to be treated with respect. Listen and pay attention to your clients’ problems and they will appreciate it.
Another cool feature that will help you protect your brand reputation is storm alerts. Any time there is an unusual surge in the number of mentions of your chosen keywords, you get an email.
Many social media crises start the same way. Someone is not happy with a product and posts about it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Then other people comment on a post, starting the snowball effect.
Storm reports give you time to react. When you see a notification, you can investigate the matter and react to the crisis before it escalates.
You can protect your reputation and meet the highest customer standards. I call it a win-win situation.
The context of a discussion
The last useful feature of Brand24 (when it comes to brand protection, of course. There are plenty of other features you will use, for example when working with influencers) is the context of a discussion.
It’s a graphic showing all the words people use together with your chosen keywords. You can see whether your brand has positive or negative associations.
An interesting example of this feature is this one.
Jamie Oliver, the cook and restaurateur, is associated with such words as “ban”, “sugar” and “healthy”. Jamie is known for his fight against child obesity that’s why not all of the terms in his context of discussion are positive.
The context of a discussion gives two vital pieces of information.
Firstly, you get a general impression of where your customers might be. That’s a valuable market insight – for example, Polka Bikes, which is a bike company, is searched together with words like “Warsaw” or “women cycling”. Its primary customer group is women from large cities, so Polka can develop a marketing campaign targeting this specific group.
Secondly, you will know what people think about your brand. In the case of Jamie Oliver, not all mentions are positive, but it’s due to his quite controversial campaign. We can assume, his campaigns are getting some traction and will bring the desired results.
Why is brand protection important?
Brand protection helps you take care of your most valuable resources, it protects the identity of your brand. Without a brand protection plan in place, you could suffer irreparable damage to your reputation.
How to spot a crisis in the making?
First of all, know what is crisis. We overuse the word nowadays. According to Jay Baer, a social media crisis occurs when we’re witnessing:
- an information asymmetry (when the company doesn’t know more about the problem than the public);
- a decisive change from the norm (if suddenly you’ll get a ton of negative reviews – that’s a crisis);
- a material business impact (if something negatively impacts the core or an important part of your business).
That’s a pretty accurate characteristic, and an amazing opportunity for an application of social listening tools. By constantly monitoring your brand throughout the Internet, you can spot the first signs of the problems mentioned above and get ahead of them.
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