Reputation is one of the most important assets for a brand. Your brand reputation signals to consumers whether or not you can be trusted with their time, energy, and money. Here are 7 powerful ways to build a great brand reputation.
7 Powerful Ways to Build a Great Brand Reputation
Established brands can spend thousands of dollars on their digital branding efforts – a new website, blogging, online ads, search engine marketing and contests — all of which can increase traffic, clicks and even sales. But even the established brands can’t buy reputation.
In the digital space, a reputation is built through the constant production and publication of high-quality content, through meaningful conversations and through your contributions to your respective social networks. The process of building a reputation takes time, but not a lot of money and this is one way small businesses can compete with established brands. For a small start-up with limited resources, reputation is everything.
Build a great reputation by establishing these 7 practices.
1. Make sure social circles are a positive reflection of your brand
You are the company you keep. The words still make my skin crawl, but the truth is the behaviors, and opinions of our connections, both online and off, directly affect our reputation and digital brand credibility.
When you partner with an organization, select an influencer to represent your brand, share someone’s tweet, or link to a blog, you’re implicitly saying that you endorse the content.
Establish relationships with people whose values and standards mimic those of your brand. This is not only true for partners and influencers, but also for the staff you select to represent your company online.
Hire the right people first and foremost, then train them all under a set standard. Make sure your entire team is on the same page about company messaging.
SEE ALSO: 5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Brand Image
2. Set guidelines for conflict management and responding to negative feedback
We’ve all witnessed embarrassing social media wars, where two parties will argue, slinging mud back and forth. You’ve also likely seen a brand with a less than polite response to someone who has expressed a negative option of the brand. Some return insult for insult or communicate in a clearly angry fashion.
These rash responses to negative comments say a lot to our customers and prospects about how we will treat them or talk about them. To prevent tainting your brand image, follow these easy action tips:
- Always remain professional online. If you are angry, pause before publishing. There is no room for hot heads.
- Respond to negative feedback promptly. Timing is critical for resolution efforts.
- Publicly address and remedy the situation where possible. While a call or email is a more personal response to a Yelp review, those actions aren’t visible online. Respond where your customer expressed their frustrations.
3. Monitor your brand regularly
In today’s digital world, what would have previously been a closed conversation between friends or family can be broadcasted for the world to see with the click of a button. Many consumers now announce complaints about products, services or brands to their online networks.
Some complaints can also be based on inaccurate information causing people to make incorrect statements about brands online. However, you must be aware of the sources and be prepared to address them promptly.
To stay informed about conversations happening about your brand and leverage opportunities to address published information, you must monitor your brand and conduct social listening.
4. Provide a good customer experience
Customer experience is all about your attention to detail. And your attention to detail is what your reputation will be built upon. This includes any and all points of contact and interaction with the customer involving delivery of products and services.
Twitter replies, website navigation, invoicing, and e-mail autoresponders should be produced and executed in a way that creates an ideal customer experience at each touch point.
Good customer experience signals to your clients and prospects, the brand will not abandon them after making their sale. It is also a great way to convert customers into brand advocates and to promote positive word-of-mouth.
5. Collect feedback and make improvements
It’s important to make it easy for customers to give product and service feedback. Try to establish an environment where criticism is welcomed because your customers want to feel like they have a voice. By providing them an outlet, you reduce the chance of negative feedback being shared in places you cannot influence or moderate.
Feedback also helps strengthen the product at its core – by identifying the product or service’s weaknesses, you can then improve on them and increase customer satisfaction. The happy customers will attract more business.
6. Deliver on your promises
The more promises we make and keep, the stronger our reputation gets. Conversely, unmet marketing promises or simply unmanaged customer expectations can be devastating for your brand.
People may forget the promises you keep, but they’ll never forget the ones you break.
When brands don’t keep promises or fail to meet expectations, consumers become disappointed, angry, or frustrated, and lose confidence in the brand.
When we consistently make and keep promises over time, it builds trust with our customers and confidence within our own organization and this reflects on the brand as a whole. Try keeping a list of brand promises and expectations and systematically make sure to deliver on them.
7. Practice transparency
Transparency is the name of the game when it comes to your digital branding efforts. When using social media, brand managers know that they must tell the whole truth and nothing but.
Consumers are increasingly savvy and many of them have highly sophisticated filters to spot insincere brands that aren’t up front with their audiences. And if we’re talking about specialized forums – forget it! The people who make these communities will tear up anything that even smells like traditional public relations or marketing material.
The trick is to use all of the social media tools at your disposal to tell an entertaining brand story in a way that drives trust, consent, and profits.
Over the long term, transparency and being direct with your customers and prospects will preserve your online reputation. Flip-flopping, beating around the bush and just plain lying will erode your reputation, if not totally destroy it.
Any other helpful tips for building a great brand reputation? Let us know in the comments.