Keep Your Credibility: Brand Reputation Management 101
Legendary cosmetic titan, Elizabeth Arden, coined the phrase, ‘Repetition makes reputation, and reputation makes customers.’
In present-day’s digital landscape, there has been a transference in the balance of power in the brand-to-consumer relationship. Consumers now have a strong grip on the state of a brand’s reputation through the power of technology, especially on social media and review platforms such as Hellopeter and Yelp. Transparent, honest opinions and criticism from customers are distributed to a broad audience within seconds. It’s possible for a brand’s reputation to be compromised by any negative feedback very quickly.
According to the World Economic Forum, ‘A quarter of a company’s market value can be directly related to its reputation, and 87% of executives think that reputational challenges are more important than other strategic risks.’
So, it begs the question, ‘What can you do to keep your brand in the consumers’ good books? Develop and apply business procedures and policies that aspire to the highest standards. Furthermore, ensure that it’s managed actively. It’s essential to adapt to the business’s marketing strategy with measures that sustain proactive practices. In addition, include the following critical aspects of your brand’s online management.
Best brand reputation management practices for 2020 and beyond
Outshine competitors with expert content marketing
As a part of inbound marketing, content marketing consists of producing valuable, relevant content that educates and solves a problem for your audience. We’re not talking about sales-orientated content: enticing phrases and direct calls-to-action (CTAs) – this has its time and place but not in this case.
Prioritise customer experience
Today, the customers’ experience on your website is just as relevant as the product/service and its price point. The combination significantly influences the path to purchase. Delivering a world-class customer experience includes customer-centric marketing such as follow-up emails, newsletters, surveys and a comprehensive customer support system.
Ensure that you are well-versed in resolution methods. Another metric that you can track and always increase is the first contact resolution rate (FCR). Your FCR is the speed at which you resolve complaint or enquiry tickets on the first attempt. For this to be successful, all support staff should have full knowledge about the company’s products/services as well as easy access to content so they can solve the issue(s) as quickly as possible.
Complete brand transparency
The reality is that there is nowhere to hide from the public anymore; it’s best, to be honest. Be proactive by continually monitoring what people are saying about your brand in the online space: focus on social media platforms, your Google Business page rating and review sites. Read all the feedback (negative and positive) you receive and address it accordingly.
Social media platforms have evolved and no longer operate simply as convenient ways to chat to friends – they are gateways through which a socially-empowered public can access and disperse commentary that can influence your brand’s reputation. The bottom line is that customers’ opinions carry authority and can’t be ignored. By being completely transparent, respect, trust, and loyalty will follow.
Stay on the cusp of marketing industry trends
Out of sight, out of mind is, unfortunately, the risk you run by not keeping up with industry trends. These can include, but are not limited to, external influences such as user behaviour and intent, as well as internal complacency by not uploading new content or optimising your website.
Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as other platforms, are regularly updating algorithms which can impact your online visibility. Ensure that you are up to date with the latest Social Media and SEM (made up of SEO and Paid Media) trends of your specific dynamic industry. You may be thinking that the deck is stacked against you; you’re continually going to be navigating through a maze of ever-changing pathways. This is the nature of the beast – but smart, strategic methods can conquer it.
Know your target audience
If you don’t have a crystal-clear knowledge of your target audience, you may as well kill your site right now. It’s imperative that continually monitor the users who engage with your brand – take note of what type of content is driving traffic, and conversely, which material has become redundant.
Implement measurability systems
Use data to determine the areas of your marketing plan that may be tarnishing your brand. Through analytics and tracking, you can monitor metrics to give you an objective overview of your marketing strategy in action. Basic parameters that signal problems include
- Time spent on page
- New vs Returning visitors
- Bounce rate
- Traffic sources
- Exit pages
- Interactions per visit
Some guides can help you learn the fundamentals of analytics and tracking, but that will take up valuable time. Instead, speak to analytics and tracking professionals who can take on this task for you.
Should I use a CRM system?
One of the primary areas that will be affected by an unfavourable brand reputation is sales. To combat potential sales stagnation and boost reputation, it’s worth looking into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It helps manage customer data. If your sales reps are constantly on the move, think about utilising a mobile CRM.
Its main benefit is that it serves as a user-friendly central hub in which all information gathered can be stored. It also provides a way to monitor sales processes such as following up on leads and prioritise areas that need to be improved – these would be highlighted by analytics and tracking data. Think of a CRM as a supplemental tool, not a substitute, for expert assistance.
Your company’s brand reputation with your audience will either make – or break – your business’s potential for achieving high sales as well as having a loyal following. Your website is your digital business card. Remember, the customer (now more than ever) is always right.