After creating awareness for your product or brand, the next step is to ensure that your customers follow through to become your customer.  A good brand reputation is one of the most powerful ways to persuade potential customers to purchase your products; it shows your credibility and positive relationship with your customers.

If potential customers are on the fence about buying your product or your competitor’s, a good brand reputation puts you ahead of your competitors and nudges customers to complete their orders.

The goal of brand reputation management is to present a positive image of the company while mitigating the effects of negative information, ensuring that customers continue to trust your brand.

In this article, we’ll look at what brand reputation management is and how to develop an effective brand reputation management strategy.

 

What Is Online Reputation Management?

Brand reputation management is a multi-channel strategy for avoiding and resolving issues that could damage your brand’s reputation. Today, it’s largely dependent on the content circulating about your brand on the internet, such as social media, app store reviews, online review sites, and blogs.

Most potential customers will look into your official pages, social media mentions, and online review websites to see if the impression they have of your brand is accurate. As a result, online reputation management is non-negotiable.

Online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of monitoring, identifying, and influencing conversations about your brand. It helps you to positively shape existing and potential customers’ perceptions.

SEO also plays a significant role in online reputation management, as search engines are most customers’ and leads’ first point of contact. As a result, one of the best ways to build a positive online reputation is to ensure that your brand can be found on search engines and has positive search results.

Keep in mind that no matter how hard you try, there is a possibility of a crisis that can harm your brand’s reputation, such as unexpected downtime, slow payment processing, and others. Implementing an online reputation management strategy allows you to control the crisis and minimize the damage to your brand’s credibility.

 

Why Does Reputation Management Matter?

A negative brand reputation is usually the result of a ripple effect of negative comments and reviews scattered around. When customers these negative comments, they start to notice other flaws in your products or services, and one negative comment can quickly turn into a slew of negative comments and reviews.

So, managing your brand reputation helps you effectively control the narrative about your brand. It also helps you improve your products and services before things get sour with your customers.

A brand reputation strategy is in place to effectively respond to negative events and keep them from escalating into a full-fledged crisis. It also demonstrates that your brand is open, trustworthy, and takes ownership.

Pillars of Brand Reputation Management

  • Impeccable Products/Services

Customers care about the quality of your products and services. Having a higher quality product than your competitors puts you ahead of the competition, especially if your products are also reasonably priced.

Also, just because you have exceptional products or services does not mean that customers understand their value; you must be proactive and deliberate in allowing your target audience to see the value of your offerings.

So, invest in marketing campaigns that display your products’ value across your communication channels.

  • Innovation

Customers love brands that creatively solves their problem. If your brand is perceived as a bland brand with nothing exciting to offer, you may lose customers.

You don’t have to offer something out of the ordinary to be unique and innovative; it’s how you offer it that counts. Customers are excited and thrilled to use your product when they see that you take a different approach than competitors.

3. Company Culture

Customers are more conscious than ever before about the ethics of the brands they buy from. They are more likely to avoid non-ethical brands, regardless of how great the product is.

Bad company culture affects not only your sales but also the kinds of employees you hire. When candidates are appealing and they see that you have poor reviews on websites like Glassdoor, you risk losing great talent.

Explore: Company Culture Survey Template

Making it clear to both customers and employees that you are committed to being an ethical brand puts them at ease with your brand. Also, If there is a misunderstanding about your brand’s operations, get ahead of it by transparently demonstrating how you operate.

You can also conduct an employee attitude survey to ensure that your employees are motivated and happy with the culture you’ve established. If they aren’t, you use their feedback to make it better.

4. Leadership

Another important factor in brand reputation is leadership and ownership. Having employees who take ownership of their work ensures that your brand is constantly looking for ways to improve.

Great leaders also ensure that teams collaborate effectively, resulting in a positive workplace culture.

5. Achievements

Don’t be afraid to brag about how well you’re doing; your success shows your potential and existing customers that you’re a company that achieves its goals. So, they are more likely to trust your product claims.

Great accomplishments also put you in good standing with customers because it raises their expectations and encourages them to trust your vision and mission.

6. Listening Data

Listening data is a compilation of where you’ve been mentioned online. It helps you to learn what others are saying about your brand or industry. 

The majority of brand mentions are on social media, so tracking your social media mentions is a great way to understand how people perceive you and what you can do to maintain or improve your brand reputation. 

Social listening is an excellent way to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues concerning your brand. It doesn’t just track your mentions, it helps you see conversations about your competitors and opportunities to outshine them.

It also allows you to respond to customer requests more quickly. Without listening to data, you may be oblivious to customer requests and complaints about your brand; the longer it takes to respond to your customers, the more problematic it appears.

7. Competitor Data

Competitor data helps you understand what you can improve in your offerings to provide more value to your customers. Your competitors’ mentions enable you to understand how customers perceive them, which breaks down what would make their products and services better or worse.

For example, if your competitor’s data shows they have exceptional customer support, it might be a great time to review your customer service operations.

8. Review Data

Consistently reviewing your ratings and feedback helps you understand what you’re doing well and where you can improve.

Also, people are more likely to believe reviews than the best copies. Regardless of how flawless your content is, if your reviews are bad, people won’t trust your claims.

Not having reviews is also a huge red flag for most people. So, you have to be deliberate in ensuring that people understand how you respond to feedback and what other people think about your products.

For example, you can include trust badges and customer testimonials on your web pages. It will give credibility to your claims and gain the trust of current and potential customers.

How to Build, Maintain and Repair Your Brand Reputation

1. Answer Promptly and With Empathy

Little things like unanswered messages or ignoring negative comments and reviews can contribute to a negative brand reputation. Also, it’s not just about responding to all messages; you have to reply promptly.

Prompt responses stop customers from being frustrated and going ahead to leave negative comments. 

Aside from responding quickly, your response should also convey empathy. This shows your customers that you care about them, not just about making your brand look good online.

2. Address Negativity Up Front

One of the most important things you can do for your brand is to address negative comments and reviews right away. Ignoring them will only make you seem unbothered, and it may even reinforce the distrust that has been built against you.

Even if your product or service was problematic and customers complained about it, responding with empathy and reason mitigates the distrust.

3. Own Up To Your Mistakes

If you’re getting bad press, get ahead of it by apologizing and showing remorse. Being genuinely sorry for your mistakes demonstrates that you accept responsibility and are transparent.

Don’t give vague responses that don’t show your role in the customer’s poor experience. Ensure you’re empathic and show remorse when responding to negative comments.

Also, your apology should be sent via the appropriate channel; if it is a user-wide apology, email and social media are great options. If it’s a single-user experience, you can respond to the customer’s comment directly.

4. Stay on Top of Your Search Results

SEO is about more than just making sure your target audience sees your brand and generating quality leads. It’s also a good way to make sure your target audience sees what you want them to see.

Strategically implementing SEO allows you to control the narrative people have of your brand by displaying positive results rather than allowing any negative comments about your company to float around unmanaged.

5. Automate Online Reputation Management

There’s a good chance you’ll miss some feedback if you don’t use online reputation management software. Even if you didn’t intentionally ignore customers’ feedback, it still looks bad.

One of the simplest tools you can use is Google Alerts. It notifies you of your brand mentions and you can respond if it’s a feedback or comment that needs to be addressed.

How to Create a Brand Reputation Management Strategy

  • Find Out Your Current Brand Reputation

You can’t solve a problem you don’t know exists. So the first step is to assess how good or bad your brand repetition is by analyzing your listening data, reviews, and competitor data.

Implement multiple methods for assessing user satisfaction, such as customer satisfaction surveys to identify the pain points customers have with your brand. Use NPS surveys to determine the likelihood that existing customers will recommend you to their network and why.

For You: 11 Customer Satisfaction Survey Template + [Question Examples]

  • Loop in Stakeholders

Managing your brand’s reputation requires a collaborative effort from everyone, not just the communication team. Make sure that everyone in the organization understands how their role affects customer satisfaction.

Organize meetings to show the team the current brand’s reputation data, how they contributed to it, and what they can do to maintain or repair it. The meeting should focus on the actions that everyone should take to ensure maximum customer satisfaction and a positive brand reputation.

  • Actively Monitor Customer Sentiments

Make it a habit to monitor the conversations about your brand. This enables you to identify potential flaws in your brand reputation strategy and devise solutions to address them.

Also, develop an action plan to achieve your brand reputation management goals. For example, your goal could be to get a 4.8-star rating on Google Play by nudging users to review the app via push notifications.

  • Create a Crisis Response Plan

Having a crisis plan enables you to take well-planned steps toward resolving bad PR. Keep in mind that there is no foolproof method of being prepared; there are far too many uncontrollable factors that influence your brand’s reputation.

However, having a plan with guidelines to follow to solve the crisis can help you find the best solution to it.

While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for dealing with a reputation crisis, you should have crisis plans in place for various types of events. For example, a payment error and a downtime crisis plan should have different approaches.

Read Also: How To Measure the Impact of a PR Crisis on Brand Perception

 

  • Capitalize on Your Strengths

Brand reputation management is more than just damage control; you should also emphasize your brand’s strengths so that customers notice them first. 

Making your brand’s strength the focal point of your content diverts attention away from negative comments and keeps it focused on what you do exceptionally well.

 

Conclusion

Whether you actively shape it or not, your brand has a reputation. Of course, you can’t police people’s conversations, but you can definitely influence how they think of you, which is what brand reputation management does.

Brand reputation management ensures that your customers see you and talk about your brand positively. Start your brand reputation management journey by evaluating your current brand performance and ways to improve it.


  • Moradeke Owa
  • on 10 min read

Formplus

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