Improving Your Brand's Reputation

Improving Your Brand's Reputation

Friday, January 29, 2021

Building a solid brand reputation is essential if you want a long-lasting business model. Staying on top of what people are saying about you, good or bad, can always be a learning experience. Still, there are a few ways to build a brand reputation that reaps huge benefits for your company.

Here, we’re going through why brand reputation is important, how you can build a solid brand reputation, and how to rebuild a brand after a crisis.

Improving Brand Reputation
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What is brand reputation?

When it comes to brand reputation meaning, the term encompasses various ideas such as name recognition, customer loyalty, and social signals that tell future customers whether or not it’s worth their time or money to interact with your business.

In short, brand reputation is what people are saying and thinking about your brand.

Brand reputation also has the power to position your company as a leader in any given industry and is important to think about in your marketing strategy.

The Importance of Brand Reputation

Think about the last time you were deciding on a new restaurant to try.

You probably read some reviews or asked your neighbours whether they’ve been to the new place in town. If you saw too many poor reviews or your friends had a bad experience with the waiter, it’s likely that you chose a different place to eat.

Similarly, if your relatives recommend a cafe without you prompting them, there’s a high chance that you’ll check it out or at least remember the name if you come across it.

This is the importance of brand reputation. One study showed that 87% of consumers check at least ten customer reviews before making a purchase or trying out a service. So, it’s not worth it to ignore what people are saying about your business both online and in the community.

Brand reputation directly affects your bottom line. The entire public relations industry is rooted in this important fact. So, let’s explore how to build a strong, brand reputation.

How to Build Your Brand Reputation

When building a brand, you’ll need to think about your brand reputation. Generally, this happens naturally. But there are some key factors to keep in mind to ensure you’re building a reputation that truly reflects your values.

Improving Brand Reputation

Be Honest and Transparent

First and foremost, you need to be honest, open, and as transparent as possible. Especially in our social media age where everything is on display, customers like to know who’s behind the brand and whether the company they’re interacting with is being truthful and authentic.

Consumers can smell dishonesty from a mile away and hardly anyone gets away with a coverup.

But, the truth is, there’s no reason to position yourself as something you’re not. Instead, be honest about what you can realistically offer your clients and customers while owning up to your mistakes. Customers trust you more when you’re open and transparent.

Improving Brand Reputation
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Let Your Value Speak for Itself

Many business owners talk a big game but don’t necessarily follow through. Don’t be all talk. Be able to show your customers how valuable your products or services are without the need to oversell anything.

Let your uniqueness speak for itself. If you have a strong business idea, usually, the value is self-explanatory. When you talk something up without the ability to deliver, you’re only losing the trust of your audience.

Connect with Customers Directly

Often, when someone leaves a bad review or they’re complaining about an experience with your business, most often, they just want to feel heard.

That’s why it’s essential to always monitor your feedback, either using Google My Business reviews or social media. You’ll also want to respond to feedback straight away, offering a solution. Even better, solve their problem in person before they even make it to the internet.

Furthermore, you’ll want to engage with your audience consistently, becoming known as the business that responds promptly and answers any question that comes their way.

No one likes to feel ghosted by a customer service team, so be sure you’re truly connecting with your customers.

Improving Brand Reputation

Take Action Based on Feedback

More important than responding to reviews is taking action on the criticism. Of course, not all criticism is created equal. But you don’t want to be the business owner that gets into an internet brawl in the comments section.

Take the stance of “the customer is always right,” -- even if they’re not -- and take the high road when you get negative feedback. Then, take action. You might offer them a discount, a refund, or make a change that the customers were asking for.

But again, often people just want to feel heard and simply listening might be enough.

However, when you get the same negative criticism over and over, it’s a good sign that you might need to make an adjustment. And, even if your ego takes a hit, the feedback is actually something to be grateful for.

Implement Content Marketing

Content marketing is often overlooked but can be a powerful tool to enhance brand reputation and position your company as a leader in your industry. Content marketing could be anything from blog posts to ebooks to infographics that aim to educate, not sell.

Having these free resources on your website is a smart place to start where you can post information to help your customers solve a problem without selling them anything.

Content marketing is a powerful PR tool to help get your name out there while also giving your brand a reputation for being helpful, passionate, and not solely focused on always selling something.

Essentially, with content marketing, customers find value in your brand whether they’re a customer or not, which only boosts your rep.

Improving Brand Reputation

Think About Employee Satisfaction

Happy employees usually mean happy customers. So, focusing on your staff can make a huge difference to your brand reputation.

When your employees are satisfied, they’re more likely to go above and behind to care for your customers. They’re more likely to help maintain a good reputation for your business and, as the face of your brand, really makes a difference to how the community views your company.

Maintaining employee satisfaction has a trickle down effect to boost your brand in the same way that employees treated poorly can sabotage your efforts. So, be sure to prioritise your employees.

Nurture Your Relationships (Even Amongst Competition)

Every relationship matters and how you treat not only your friends but your enemies too can go a long way.

There will always be competitors -- or at least people who don’t necessarily have your best interest at heart. But, if you treat them with kindness and respect, you’ll likely gain a lot of positive points from your audience.

After all, your competitors can affect your brand reputation, so don’t give them any more ammunition. Taking the high road is always admirable, so aim to do so with all your business relationships to help build a good brand reputation.

Deliver on Your Promises

At the end of the day, a good brand reputation is built in the same way as anyone’s personal reputation is built -- by staying true to your word and taking responsibility for your decisions.

No one trusts that friend who always bails on plans or doesn’t do what they say they will. The same goes for the business that says they have a refund policy but that makes customers jump through unnecessary hoops to follow through on that promise.

Sticking to your word and owning up to any mistakes is the best way to build a strong brand reputation and a loyal customer base.

Have a Plan for Conflict Resolution

Even with all these considerations in mind, it’s impossible to please everyone. And, in a worst case scenario, sometimes, people might just be out to get you. So, have a plan for what you might do if damage control becomes necessary.

That might mean hiring an expert crisis communications team or publicist to help you frame your messages and position yourself as the bigger person. With a plan ready, you can overcome a brand reputation slip up.

Improving Brand Reputation
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How to Build Brand Reputation After a Crisis

Brand reputation crisis management is something no business owner wants to deal with. But, in a worst case scenario, you’ll want to have some tools ready, just in case.

Especially with the explosion of “cancel culture” and the fact that so much of what we do and say lives on the internet forever, no matter whether we’ve changed, makes it harder to manage our brand reputation over time.

As much as we can do our best to control our behaviour, public perception sways widely and you could be caught on the wrong side of an issue at some point. So, here are a few steps you can take to rebuild your brand reputation after a crisis.

Be Realistic

The first step is to be realistic about what you have control over. If someone’s mind is made up about your brand, it can be difficult to change them. So, instead, focus on what is in your control -- your thoughts and your actions.

From there, you can consider what’s realistic. If the crisis is particularly intense, it might take months or even years to rebuild your reputation. You might even be looking at taking a financial hit.

But, if you stay true to your values and take action in a way that will earn back the good graces of your audience, it will eventually happen. You just have to be patient and realistic about how long that might take.

Be Honest About the Damage

Be sure to monitor your brand perception as closely as you can to get a true feel of the damage. Once you do, you can be more honest about how bad things actually are.

Even if it seems like the noise has died down, that doesn’t always mean a crisis can’t come back to bite you. So, keep your finger on the pulse of what’s being said about your brand so that you don’t slack off on the damage control.

Be Rational

It’s easy to let our emotions sweep us away when we’re being accused of something, especially if we’re innocent or there’s been a misunderstanding. Do your best to stay clear-headed and don’t let your emotional state get the better of you.

We all know that cringey feeling when we see a business owner get angry online or lash out at a customer. These reactions will only make your struggling reputation worse. So, do your best to keep your emotions out of it.

Improving Brand Reputation

Assess the Response Plan

The good news is that, if you made a crisis plan before anything went down, you can stick to the plan and take action to move past the incident. However, depending on the situation, plans might change.

Sometimes, it’s best to say nothing in response to a heated confrontation. In others, staying silent could be the worst thing for your brand reputation. In most cases, reaching out to a crisis communications professional can help you assess your action plan and make sure it’s a good idea.

Pick Your Battles

Last but not least, it’s important during a crisis to pick your battles. Again, in some cases, you won’t be able to change someone’s mind about your business.

So, instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on lawyers and publicists, risking your personal relationships, or simply making things worse, be sure that you’re choosing your battles wisely.

You might need to explore other options, like re-branding your business, starting a new company, or creating new, better policies. After all, a reputation crisis could be a huge learning experience. And it’s useful to have your eyes open to possibilities beyond fighting every battle.

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Brand reputation can be difficult to manage but is too important to ignore. Most often, if your company is in a crisis, you might have something to learn from the situation in the long term which is worth thinking about.

However, with these brand reputation tips we hope you’ll be well-equipped and prepared for anything.

If you are interested in reading more about how to create and sustain a successful business, check out our latest blogs:

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