Brand reputation is important. It affects the success of marketing, customer loyalty, investor confidence, sales, and a lot more. Most executives manage the brand’s image themselves. But they often leave their companies vulnerable to the internet, which is a key part of the customer journey.
When it comes to building a brand’s reputation online, traditional public relations are not enough (PR).
Also, the more you take charge of your brand’s online identity, the better you’ll do when it really matters. The secret is that it always counts.
What is a brand's name?
Brand reputation is how people think about a brand. Because the internet has a big effect on how people think, online reputation is a big part of how people think about a brand.
How does the brand get talked about in the news, on blogs, and on social media? What does the feedback say? When someone Googles the brand, what comes up on page one? These things will affect your business in the long run.
Why the name of a brand is important
At each stage of the funnel—awareness, consideration, decision, and long-term loyalty—the reputation of your brand is very important. Customers do their homework well. In fact, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a business that has good reviews. On the other hand, 82% say they are less likely to do business with a company that has bad reviews.
But good and bad reviews don’t just show up for people who want to see them. They can also show up when people search for the brand in Google. For instance, when potential customers use Google to find the website or product quickly. If Google shows them negative comments, articles, social posts, videos, or mentions, they might not want to keep going.
How do you build a good name for your brand?
- Use SEO to build a strong online presence
Most of the time, a company’s website comes first in search results, followed by brand mentions from other sites. So, what happens when a customer rants on a popular review site about a bad experience? This bad review sets up shop on Google’s first page. If you don’t have a strong presence online, there’s nothing else to put on the SERPs.
But if you have a strong online presence and a good SEO strategy, it’s harder for bad stuff to get in.
Think about more than just the content on your own website. Use public relations and SEO to strengthen your online presence everywhere. Get news sites and blogs to talk about you. Use all digital assets you own to your advantage. Set up and improve all of your social media profiles.
Claim the listings if your business has a real-world location. Optimize for Google Images, videos, and any industry-specific search engines. Make good PR to get more attention from the media, like for the great CSR work you’re already doing.
Brands with a lot of credibilities are in charge of every part of their digital space.
- Become a leader of ideas
Nike doesn’t just know about shoes; it knows them. Microsoft doesn’t just know about computers; it knows them. Netflix doesn’t just know how to stream; it also… well, you get the idea.
Think of any big consumer brand, and you’ll see a link between how knowledgeable people think they are and how much authority they have in their field. Even if the brand itself doesn’t have a reputation for expertise, you can bet that the person who represents it in public does. Take Wal-Mart and its CEO, Doug McMillon, as an example.
Your content and the people who represent your brand show that you are a thought leader. The more you can give people who care about your industry or products information that is relevant, new, make them think, and can be used, the better. There are a lot of great options, such as guest posts, byline articles, interviews, speaking engagements, books, and original research.
When it comes to thought leadership, it’s important to turn the ideas into digital assets that can be shared with more people.
- Give the customer the best experience you can.
A customer who is upset has a lot of ways to get back in charge, including social media, reviews, and more. But they should never have to complain on social media just to be heard. Every time a customer interacts with your brand, give them a great experience. This will make them feel good about your brand.
Think about every point of contact with the customer, like social media, the website’s user experience (UX), product descriptions, sales, help articles, customer service, confirmation emails, follow-up emails, and so on. Is each point of contact easy to use? Speedy? Transparent? Free of roadblocks? If you go the extra mile for your customers, they will become your best friends.
A great digital customer experience is good not only for your brand’s reputation but also for your relationships with customers and your revenue. Forrester found that focusing on the customer experience would boost sales in all 18 industries they looked at. Both a good brand reputation and an increase in sales are possible.
- Answer questions and reviews
One of the easiest and most effective strategies on our list is also one that brands that are already busy often forget about. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of customers feel like a brand cares about them when it responds to their feedback.
When someone comments on your Facebook page, mentions you in a Tweet, or writes a review about you online, answer them! It’s important for your customers and potential customers to feel like they have a two-way relationship with your brand. It doesn’t matter if the customer has good or bad feedback. Everyone who interacts with your brand wants to be heard.
- Make everything as unique as you can.
Customers are happier and feel more connected to your brand when they feel like you care about them and their needs. They can also make you feel less angry or bored.
Personalized experiences go deeper than that. You don’t just use the customer’s name in your marketing emails; you also customize them so they only get information that is relevant to them. In the same way, your customer service isn’t personalized just because you know the customer’s name and what they’ve ordered.
Use your CRM system as a place to store information about your customers, like what they’ve bought, what problems they’ve had, what solutions they’ve tried, how satisfied they were with customer service in the past, etc. This information can be used as a starting point whenever a customer deals with your brand. Try to keep each relationship going and not start over every time.
- Nurture an exceptional company culture
Just as happy customers can be your best allies, so can happy employees.
You can get great people to work for you. But if the company’s culture is bad, employee happiness and output will plummet. Make a place where great employees can thrive and where good employees can feel like they have the power to become great ones.
In other words, encourage honesty, trust, and open communication.
Like customer reviews, negative employee reviews, like those on Glassdoor, usually only happen when the employee doesn’t feel like he or she has been heard in a constructive way.
So, if a worker has a problem, you should listen to them. Your workers are like the canary in the mine. If they don’t like a change to a product, a company decision, or the way the CEO acts, it’s likely that your customers won’t like it either.
- Connect with your audience on social media.
Social media is more than just a way to give your audience information. It also gives you a chance to hear what people have to say.
You can’t build a good reputation for your brand just through word of mouth. With social media, you can interact in meaningful ways with both current and potential customers.
Ask questions and conduct polls. Use social listening tools to track how people feel about a brand. Direct engagement with your audience not only helps build a strong brand reputation but also lets you catch problems before they get out of hand.
- Listen to feedback and act on it
Remember those comments and reviews we asked you to answer? It’s not enough to just respond; you should also respond in a way that shows the customer you heard them and have taken steps to fix the problem. Doing so can turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one, and the way you handle the feedback will also make a good impression on anyone who sees the exchange, which will help your brand’s image in the long run.
Like how you interact on social media, how you respond to feedback isn’t just for the customer. For every customer who tells you something, you can be sure that there are many more who feel the same way but don’t say anything. Whether it’s a problem with customer service or a product description that isn’t clear, fixing the problem will help your company’s bottom line.
Customer feedback is more than just reviews. Voice of the Customer (VoC) data can also be used to improve marketing, customer retention, and brand experience.
- Get better at marketing with your content
Content marketing that is educational, useful, and interesting in many different ways can help you become a thought leader and build a good relationship with your customers. People who find your content useful will link to it and share it with their friends. So, it also makes your site more trustworthy, which is good for SEO. And when people talk about your content, they build up a stockpile of good feelings that makes it hard for bad feelings to get to page one.
Mix up the types of content you use in your marketing plan so you can reach everyone:
- White papers, case studies, customer testimonials, and reviews can help people who need more information and reassurance before they buy.
- Try video, infographics, lists, and interactive content to present information in a way that is easy to understand.
- Try ebooks and guides to get people to sign up for your email list or interact with you in other ways.
- Guides, blog posts, a video series, podcasts, webinars or e-courses, live Q&As, forums, and Slack channels are all good ways to teach users.
- Try user-generated content, social media, forums, Slack channels, live Q&As, webinars, or e-courses, as well as interactive tools and templates, to get people involved.
- Have a story to tell? Try blog posts, podcasts, and videos.
Here, you can find out more about the many advantages of content marketing.
- Make your customer service better.
Most reputation management strategies put customer service reps on the front line. Give them all the tools they need to quickly solve problems and send feedback to the right places. This means having a good CRM system, enough time and help to deal with each customer, and a way to look up customer history so they don’t offer the same solutions over and over.
Be careful about which metrics you use to judge how well your customer service reps are doing. Support reps used to be judged on how quickly they could handle each customer interaction, but now only the most bureaucratic companies use this as a metric. Instead, pay attention to KPIs that measure the quality of the exchange.
Give your customers all the support options they need, like social media, live chat, email, phone, and the ability to upload files or share their screen when needed. And since most customers would rather not have to contact customer service in the first place, give them everything they need to solve their own problems.
Some examples are getting started guides, knowledge bases, forums, frequently asked questions (FAQs), support groups on Facebook, and detailed articles on how to do something.
- Use marketing with influencers
Get industry leaders to vouch for your brand to boost its credibility and trust. Think about the people you want to reach and the people they listen to. Then, get to know these people who have a lot of power.
Work with them to make interesting content so that your audience is more likely to connect with your brand. If you treat your interactions with influencers like transactions, you won’t have as much of an effect on your brand’s reputation.
Micro-influencers can be used to help a brand’s reputation. These are people who have devoted fans, and they usually know a lot about how their fans think, what they like, and what they don’t like. They’re also easier and cheaper to work with, so you can work with a lot of them to get results that add up.
- Make customers stay with you longer
When your customers and employees are happy with your brand, they become brand advocates who can build momentum and excitement when things are going well and protect your brand’s reputation when things go wrong. Strong brand loyalty comes from great experiences for both customers and employees. But you have to work on these relationships if you want to get the most out of them.
Use tools for social listening to find out when people talk about your brand. When a positive comment is made, don’t wait to contact the customer and build a relationship with them. Give them special deals and discounts for being in the know, or let them try out new products as beta testers. Customers who stick with you should be treated like VIPs. And don’t be afraid to ask them to write reviews or tell their friends about something.
- Ask for feedback and bylines
Even reviews and bylines need a proactive plan. When a brand has mostly happy customers but hasn’t asked any of them for a review, it’s easy to fall into a trap. When these voices aren’t heard, a few bad reviews can give the wrong impression that a brand has a lot of unhappy customers.
Integrate public relations and search engine optimization (SEO) to strengthen your online presence with all the good things you are doing and the good relationships you are building.
Ask for reviews in your confirmation emails, on social media, and whenever a customer gives you a good rating for customer service.
Make a list of blogs and media outlets in your field and start pitching to get bylines published. Pay attention to the kind of content they post, what they’re missing, and what their audience would love. Then write an amazing pitch that stands out!
- Keep an eye on your brand
Keeping track of mentions of your brand means being aware of them as soon as they happen. Set up Google News alerts for your brand and any well-known products or people that are related to it. You’ll get a notification when blog posts or news articles mention your brand, so you can do things like:
- Responding to questions, thanking people for their comments, etc., is a good way to interact with article comments.
- Getting in touch with the article’s author to fix mistakes
- Putting together your own response to what was said and putting it on your blog or in an editorial is one way to do this.
And you don’t have to wait for blog posts to come out to keep track of how people feel about your brand. When someone talks about your brand on social media, tools like Sprout Social, Keyhole, and Mention will let you know. As soon as possible, respond to what people say. If you don’t deal with a problem on social media, it will spread quickly.
- Plan ahead to protect your brand’s reputation
Damage control isn’t the only thing that skilled professionals in reputation management do. They are also part of a brand reputation management plan that looks to the future. They help you keep up with the times. Great reputation management companies work to improve your search engine rankings and get high-quality content about your brand out there. They are good for your SEO and content strategy as well as your reputation.
Your reputation is too important to wait to deal with until you have to. If you have a proactive plan, you will be ready for anything.