Brand Reputation Management: How to Do it Right
We’re in the era where one viral post on social media can make or mar, within minutes, a brand image that took you ages to build. Social media has given consumers more power than they initially had, enabling them to influence opinions at the click of a button and leaving brands with no choice but to put in extra work to protect and manage their reputation.
While you don’t have perfect control over what customers post and discuss online about your brand, an effective reputation management strategy will ensure you have more positives than negatives.
This article discusses brand reputation management and how you can do it right.
What is Brand Reputation Management?
Brand reputation management is the process of strategically monitoring, influencing, and controlling your brand’s public image and perception.
A positive brand reputation is invaluable, as it helps build a solid and trustworthy brand identity. In fact, that is the goal of every brand reputation management effort: to create a strong and trustworthy brand identity that resonates with customers, builds loyalty, and enhances business success. The value of a good brand reputation is in a brand’s sales and revenue margins, which are products of customer trust and loyalty.
A negative brand reputation is disastrous for any brand, as its effects can ruin it entirely. The major challenge is that it takes a lifetime to build a brand’s reputation and a minute to destroy it. Poor handling of a customer review online or taking the wrong side in a social crisis can change the audience’s perception of your brand for years.
What Factors Influence Brand Reputation?
Many things influence the public’s perception of your brand, but the chief among them is your stance on quality. Are you big on quality products and service delivery? Is quality customer service a priority for your business? Do you ensure you have quality employees who are dedicated to not just delivering quality products, but also putting the needs of your customers first at all times?
Other factors influencing your brand’s reputation are your brand’s ethics and values, community relations, environmental responsibility, and respect for employee and customer privacy.
Ultimately, how you communicate these values greatly influences your brand’s reputation. You can be doing everything right and ruin your brand’s reputation with poor marketing and communication strategies. With solid brand reputation management, your communication professionals have the information they need to communicate your brand’s narrative effectively.
How Do You Measure Brand Reputation?
While brand reputation is an intangible concept in business, here are some ways you can access the strength of your brand’s reputation:
Surveys and Questionnaires: Conducting surveys is a great way to determine what your customers, employees, and stakeholders feel about your brand. The surveys, which can be done online or with physical questionnaires, measure trust, customer satisfaction, and overall brand perception.
Social Media Listening: With social listening tools, you can monitor conversations customers and your target audience have about your brand on social media. You can track brand mentions and sentiment and address negative comments before they escalate.
Online Reviews and Ratings: Monitor online reviews and rating platforms like Google, Yelp, G2, Trustpilot, Amazon customer reviews, etc., to know what customers are saying about their experience with your brand.
Employee Feedback: Share questionnaires with your employees to get their perceptions about your brand. Their experiences and customer interactions will be vital to knowing what the public thinks of your brand.
Customer Retention and Churn Rates: These are proofs of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Measuring them shows you what the non-vocal customers feel about your brand.
Steps to Manage Your Brand Reputation
Here are steps to help you create a solid brand reputation management strategy:
Monitor and Audit Your Brand’s Reputation
Monitoring and auditing your brand’s reputation is the first step toward managing it properly. You can do this by listening to conversations on social media, checking review platforms, conducting a survey, and seeking information on customer complaints from the customer service department.
Auditing is vital to picking out the brand reputation risks and opportunities you can work on to maintain a good reputation and achieve business goals.
Educate Your Employees
Once you’ve identified your brand’s reputational risks and opportunities, the next step is to educate your employees on your brand’s values, ethics, and operations.
Your employees are the first ambassadors of your brand, and getting them to believe in your brand’s values is ideal for building a strong, positive brand reputation. Train your employees to deliver quality products and services that meet customer expectations. Furthermore, customer-facing departments should be educated on the values of excellent customer service and how it can help control the brand’s reputation.
Create Reactive and Proactive Management Strategies
Now that your employees are informed of your brand’s reputation risks and opportunities, create reactive and proactive management strategies to leverage the opportunities and suppress the risks.
These strategies should outline the steps to take, key spokespersons, and communication strategies in every situation. What should be done ahead of time to prevent a brand reputation crisis? Who should champion the cause? And how do they communicate their plans? Similarly, what should be done when the brand experiences a reputation crisis? Who should manage the incident, and how do they communicate with the brand and the audience to ease the pressure? What incidents, comments, and reviews should the brand pay attention to, and which ones should you ignore?
Taking proactive actions and having a solid reactive plan in case of emergencies enables your brand to handle crises effectively, ultimately helping you attract quality leads in the process.
Create a Tone Guide for Responding to Comments and Reviews
Part of your brand reputation management involves handling comments, mentions, and reviews on social media and other online platforms. Your tone of voice when responding to these comments and mentions is essential, as it impacts your brand’s reputation.
Responding to comments and reviews with a tone of voice that signifies empathy, care, and enthusiasm to help and be of service will always give good impressions about your brand. However, when you respond to negative comments and bad reviews with the same energy and give positive, ecstatic responses to positive comments, customers begin to see you as being defensive and dishonest.
Therefore, it’s important that you develop a tone of voice that resonates positively with your target audience and is applicable in every situation, and apply it consistently across all content types and channels.
Establish a Monitoring Routine
Effective brand reputation management requires consistency, especially as customer sentiments aren’t stable on social media. A single negative experience and review from a customer can spark a chain of negative comments and mentions of your brand on social media, which, if not handled immediately, can damage your reputation.
Establishing an effective monitoring routine is essential to being constantly updated on your brand’s public perception. You also have to monitor your competitors and industry, as a negative outburst by one of their customers could affect your brand.
Track Your Results
Consistently track your results to know if your brand reputation management strategies are effective. There are many KPIs to measure this, depending on your business. The most common are customer or brand loyalty, financial and sales performance, customer and employee satisfaction, social media reach, repeat purchase rate, share of voice, etc.
The insights from measuring your brand perception should determine if your brand reputation management strategy is effective, needs a little tweak, or should be overhauled.
An intentional approach toward building an excellent brand reputation impacts every sector of your business. Employees would be determined to deliver only top-quality products and services, and sales and marketing departments would be more productive due to the high rate of retained and loyal customers. Even more, the customer service department would focus less on handling negative customer experiences and more on product and service inquiries.
Therefore, an investment in brand reputation management always pays off handsomely. Hopefully, this article has given you valuable insights on the right way to do brand reputation management.