Why is brand reputation so vital to your company’s success? You’ve probably heard the saying that it takes forever to build a positive image but only minutes to destroy it. One advantage of embracing a long-term strategy is keeping your focus on how your actions appear to the outside world and thus keeping your good name.
Bynder surveyed 1,600 marketers in five countries for their State of Branding Report. A key takeaway from the report was a mere 1% of marketers felt automation couldn’t be utilized for branding. Companies are embracing new technology and shifting away from boring, repetitive tasks computers can fulfill to focus more on the creative and strategic side of brand building.
Your brand-building strategy should include both automation and manual attempts to get your name out there. Here are the ways you can focus on long-term reputation management.
1. Know Who You Are
Your brand image is how the outside world perceives your company. It might not always align with who you think you are.
Take the time to write out your business principles. Why did you start the company? What pain points did you hope to solve for people? What is your core value? Do you put people first? Perhaps your focus is on bettering your local community.
Once you understand your values, it’s much easier to communicate them to the outside world. You also have something to work toward in developing a reputation that reflects your objectives.
2. Manage Crises
We live in uncertain times filled with natural disasters, pandemics, and unexpected crises. The prepared businesses are the ones that thrive beyond expectation. How can you manage your reputation even when the unthinkable happens?
First, know who you’ll turn to for damage control. Having a PR firm on your side is a good start, but you should also have a plan in place for how to handle worse-case scenarios. Think about the potential problems your industry faces.
While you can’t think of every possible issue, you can certainly plan for the most common ones. The faster you fix a situation and get your own spin out there, the more likely your customers will forgive your mistake.
3. Understand Your Customer’s Needs
You might be known as the most altruistic business in your town, but if your customers care more about their customer experience, it doesn’t help you. Think about the pain points your clients face that drive them to you for a solution.
How can you solve their issue and do it better than anyone else? What is the benefit to the user? They care more about how your business reputation impacts them personally than what your actual reputation is. The way you develop a positive image is by overdelivering time and again.
4. Keep an Eye on the Competition
Some competitors are cutthroat. They may try to trash your reputation with other people. They might tell your customers they know more, offer better value or have more experience. Even if those things are true, the comments are damaging to the way others see you.
You might be tempted to sling mud back at them, but if you get down and grovel in the mud, you’ll just walk away dirty, too. Instead, list out your positive qualities without trashing the other brand. You’ll attract like-minded people and your business will thrive in the long run.
5. Ask for Reviews
Brightlocal’s latest Local Consumer Review Survey found 93% of people allow online reviews to influence their purchase decisions. The elements people look at include star rating, legitimacy factors, how recent reviews are, and how many exist.
One way to ensure your online reviews accurately reflect the current state of your business is by asking your customers to share reviews on third-party websites, such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp! Never ask for a specific star rating, but just ask for honest feedback. You don’t want a reputation for soliciting only positive reviews.
6. Fix Problems
Pay attention to online comments about your business via reviews, social media and even calls and emails to your customer service department. If you notice a regular complaint, seek ways to fix the issue. Post a note that you’ve fixed the problem and it shouldn’t be one going forward.
People don’t expect perfection from the businesses they frequent. They want to know you care and that you’ll fix problems when you notice them.
7. Nurture Your Company Culture
At the core of excellent customer service and innovation is a company that cares about its employees and gives them the freedom to try new ideas and put customers first. How do you develop a fantastic attitude that attracts top job candidates and keeps them?
Start by writing out your goals for your employees and customers. Invest in those who work for you. Train them, send them to seminars, pay for them to take a college class, and give them bonuses when warranted.
Encourage open communication, even if it needs to be anonymous. Train your company leaders to have an open-door policy so employees can come to them with new ideas, issues they need to solve and never fear retribution.
Meet regularly for updates, encourage team building and reward the managers who lift their team-up.
Why Does Brand Reputation Matter?
When faced with the choice between two or more brands, the pricing and other factors may be quite similar. The thing that sets you apart in your industry is your reputation. Take the time to figure out who you are and how to show it to the world and you’ll gain customers via word-of-mouth and authenticity.Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.
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