Brand reputation management – I know, I know, it sounds just like another marketing buzzword from corporate jargon. However, stay calm and don’t be put off by the buzzwordiness of this term even if you work for a small or medium business – after all, what consumers think of your business should be of your interest, shouldn’t it? Let’s see what brand reputation management is and why you should hone yours.
There’s no one, go-to definition of brand reputation management. Many have tried and so there’s many definitions of brand reputation management.
Dr Charles J. Fombrun, an author and respected academic explains what brand reputation is as follows:
Reputation is the perceptual representation of a merchant’s past actions and future
prospects that indicates the merchant’s overall appeal to its key constituents when compared to other
Richard Branson, the founding father of Virgin, one of the most powerful and recognizable brands ever, once said:
Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.
A product, customer service, customer engagement, sales and marketing, they all provide consumers with some kind of experiences. Whether good or bad, experiences mold opinions that create brand reputation – brand reputation is the sum of all experiences a company provides.
Whatever your brand reputation is, it should always be in your interest to hone it, be highly regarded and appreciated by consumers, and the industry.
The case study of LEGO
Founded in 1997, Reputation Institute, one of the leading research and advisory companies, each year creates the Global RepTrak100 report which analyzes and looks into the top 100 most reputable brands on the market.
In 2018, LEGO has become the second most reputable brand for the second year in a row. The research deconstructs what put LEGO into this position:
- Products and services: LEGO’s products are in complete alignment with its values on societal contribution
- Governance: transparency and clear purpose of the product and company mission
- Citizenship: narrative centered around the organization as an embedded element of modern culture, making modern living better and more sustainable.
Here’s what Niels B. Christiansen, the CEO of LEGO says about it:
This doesn’t happen by accident; it is the result of our dedicated colleagues prioritizing children first and delivering play experiences that help them develop those essential skills needed for the future.
From LEGO to small and medium businesses
If you get the impression that brand reputation is something that only huge companies should bother about, you’re completely wrong.
In the long run, it’s all about satisfaction and happiness of your customers – doesn’t really matter if you’re LEGO or a car mechanic.
The key is to monitor relevant areas, and the metrics that directly speak to your brand reputation — such as customer satisfaction. If you’re not 100% sure what that means or how to do it, this video offers some helpful pointers:
Reputation is universal. Here’s how it works for companies of all sizes:
1. Good brand reputation management attracts new customers
As your company provides great experience in any area of your business, be it in product quality, customer service, returns or marketing communication, the brand reputation of your company increases.
For consumers, brand reputation works like a reassurance, social proof or a mean to reduce doubts when it comes to purchasing decisions.
Also, in the eyes of consumers, solid brand reputation is a sign of product and service quality. For a brand, it’s a sort of an incentive to deliver and maintain quality.
Strong brand reputation simplifies a consumer’s buying decision and increases one’s trust towards your brand.
2. Good brand reputation management helps during PR crises
Bad press, negative PR or fake news can cause harm to any company no matter what its size is.
Good brand reputation management means being able to spot situations that can potentially harm a company’s reputation and escalate into reputation crisis.
Web and social media monitoring tools can help in identifying such threats. Yeah, but what makes a threat a threat?
- Disappointed and angry customers: negative feedback in social media from one disappointed and angry customer can cause a snowball effect, spread online and reach other consumers
- Negative press: it sometimes happens that industry news or experts may negatively review your product or service which can put your company in a bad light
This is where web and social media monitoring tools are irreplaceable.
Web and social media monitoring tools collect online mentions of predefined keywords in real time. They analyze all online content containing the words you provide on websites, blogs, news sites, discussion forums, social media and other places.
Try it here for free, enter your keywords and start monitoring what the Internet says about your company or product.
I’m sure you have amazing PR people, who can handle any mishap. But are they able to spot the crisis immediately?
With all due respect, I doubt that.
Even one but unnoticed negative comment can shake your brand image and start a snowball effect. Bad news travels fast and even faster on the Internet. Remember that although your product or service is great, there will always be customers unhappy with what you do.
You need to address their comments ASAP.
Also, there are people who play dirty and intentionally post critical reviews that can spark loads of negative buzz. Such a situation has to be nipped in the bud ASAP AS POSSIBLE!
I can't wait for the Windstream guy to come Thursday so I can ask him why this company fucking sucks.— Alex McCown (@alexmccown) July 26, 2016
What’s more, beware of brandjacking. It’s either hacking your accounts and stealing your brand identity or creating fake social media profiles similar to your original ones.
Social listening gives you the chance to quickly spot all these situations and make things straight by a lightning-fast engagement. Give it a shot in our free trial!
3. Adjust Your Strategy
How? Simply, know what consumers want.
Everyone has a brand strategy and to make it fully effective you need to know what are people’s expectations.
Listen to conversations related not only to your company and product, but also to industry and other areas related to your business activity.
Social listening gives you the chance to improve your brand image by listening to customer feedback and suggestions. More and more people go online and share not only complaints, but also positive comments, opinions. and constructive criticism. It so happens that the most valuable insights come from the community.
4. Increase Brand Awareness
Each and every entrepreneur wants people to be aware of one’s brand. Naturally, it translates into profits. And how to increase your brand awareness?
One way is to find people related to your area of business and reach out to them. Preferably, you should approach influencers who are likely to become your brand ambassadors.
Word-of-mouth marketing is the thing here.
Influencers and brand ambassadors interested in your business spread a word across their fan communities. More people hear about your business and your brand awareness increases. Beautiful. Find your potential brand ambassadors!
5. Monitor Your Competition
Being aware of your competition is an inevitable part of running your business. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your competitors.
Track your competition’s efforts and adjust your marketing, product and sales strategy. Listening to your competition gives you the opportunity to keep up to date and respond to changes in the market. Simple as that.
6. Engage Your Community
Brands with the best image constantly interact with their customers. With social listening, you can become one of these brands.
It’s easy to interact with people who mention your business using the official handle. However, a great deal of your company mentions escapes your attention as they go without the official handle. You cannot fully engage your community.
With social listening engaging your customers is much easier and effective – in real time you get notifications all the mentions you can respond to and show your awesomeness.
Brand Reputation Management Tools
One of the tools that can help you with online reputation management is social media monitoring.
Social media monitoring tools are pretty simple — they collect all online mentions of your keywords, including social media, websites, news sites, discussion forums and other publicly available sources.
More than that, social media monitoring tools usually provide all sorts of insights, such as:
- Volume of mentions
- Social media reach
- Graphs, charts and data visualization
- Most active sources mentioning your keywords
- Much, much more!
A good first step would be to monitor your company and product name.
Remember that your customers talk about your product and brand also without official handles, so you don’t get any notifications. A lot of conversations take place on blogs, discussion forums, websites and elsewhere on the Web.
It’s hard to split yourself in two or more, right?
In fact, with social listening, it’s not that hard.
Being able to spot all conversations about your business allows you to be in control of your brand reputation in the market. See exactly how does it work.
In business, people certainly judge the book by its cover and that book is your brand reputation. It’s absolutely crucial for your market presence to have possibly the best brand image as it draws customer attention and increases profits.
You can find out yourself! You’re just one click away from our free trial!