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9 Strategies to Build a Successful Brand Reputation Management Strategy

9 Strategies to Build a Successful Brand Reputation Management Strategy

Home Blog Digital Marketing 9 Strategies to Build a Successful Brand Reputation Management Strategy

Reputation is not built overnight. What’s more, all it takes is just a few missteps–a botched NFT or a spokesperson who’s in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons–to ruin it.

The concept of business relying on reputation, however, is nothing new.

Even before Yelp reviews and Glassdoor, brands relied heavily on word-of-mouth. However, brand reputations are especially vulnerable today, where a few bad online reviews can damage years of impeccable service.

Fortunately, this article exists to save you from such disasters. So, read on as we unravel the nine expert tips to build a successful (indestructible) brand reputation management strategy.

What Is Brand Reputation Management?

Brand reputation management is all about monitoring how consumers perceive your brand and taking decisive measures to ensure you stay in a positive light. It can include:

  • Monitoring brand mentions, feedback, and online reviews.
  • Addressing criticism or negative feedback empathetically, proactively, and solution-focused
  • Encouraging positive reviews by providing expectational services and products (satisfied customers)
  • Quickly responding to user queries or comments on every platform
  • Collaborating with industry experts and influencers for positive brand-building
  • Developing and implementing public relations strategies
  • Maintaining a consistent brand voice throughout all customer touchpoints

Brand reputation management aims to foster customer trust, address issues, and handle PR crises effectively.

Why Is Brand Reputation Management Important?

In a perfect world, your reputation will depend on your product quality and past behaviors. The reality, however, is that customer sentiment can be shaped by both direct and indirect experience (and, often, by factors outside of the user experience), which makes maintaining a strong brand reputation challenging.

For example, customer perceptions of your brand can change based on your activism, philanthropy, partnerships, and more.

As a reminder:

  • 92% of B2B decision-makers rely on trusted reviews for purchases.
  • About 74% of customers weigh in about their purchases via word-of-mouth.

Even a 5% improvement in your reputation can yield revenue growth of 2.5%, and it’s not just revenue. A positive brand image also aids recruitment and retention since most candidates avoid companies with bad reps.

The moral of the story is that brands with a reputation for being authentic and trustworthy thrive.

How to Build a Successful Brand Reputation Management Strategy

Research, Monitor, and Audit Your Current Reputation

You may think you know your brand’s position in the market and its strengths and weaknesses–and you probably do–but you can’t be sure until you research, monitor, and audit your audience’s data.

When you get started, you’ll use the internet to find conversations around your businesses and precisely what people say about it (products, brands, influencers involved, and more).

Example of a brand conversation mentioning Best Buy

The goal is to seek out all types of talks–the good, bad, and ugly. Make sure you search these in your audit:

  • Review sites
  • Social media
  • Customer reviews
  • Your business on major search engines (including Google and Bing)

Search for brand-relevant keywords and competitor feeds (in this case, the comment section will be a gold mine).

All this feedback will paint an accurate picture of your brand’s perception, thus helping you work towards improving your brand reputation.

Build Your Brand Awareness

Did you know that Niel Patel (yes, the digital marketing genie) owned an MP3 player brand? Probably not, and that’s the reason why it didn’t go quite well.

To gain a reputation, your brand must first be known to the public, at least your target audience. Boosting brand awareness thus makes the second step.

Brand awareness shows how well people know your brand and how aware they are of your offerings. The concept touches multiple metrics and KPIs, from website traffic to social shares and impressions per post.

Develop your brand aesthetic and voice. Use this SEO checklist to optimize your website for higher ranking and traffic. Follow best practices for social media–partner with influencers and industry leaders to attract more prospects to your website.

But before that, make sure your brand has the following:

  • A cohesive visual language featuring your unique branding elements like colors, logos, and imagery
  • A well-defined company vision, value statement, and mission
  • A consistent brand voice

If you think about Airbnb, for example, you’ll probably start envisioning the warm, inviting combination of colors (deep reds, soft oranges, and earthly tones) associated with that brand. It evokes a feeling of comfort and hospitality and aligns perfectly with the brand’s mission to create a sense of belonging for travelers.

Depending on your brand, you want to evoke similar reactions from the audience when they see your posts, stories, or website. Remember, consistency is the key here.

Media monitoring campaign

Create Proactive Crisis Management Strategies

Once you understand your brand reputation, you’ll recognize the vulnerable areas where you need to focus.

For example, if the audit finds that customers are happy with the product quality but the conversation around customer support is unfavorable, you want to improve this experience.

The research will also help uncover industry trends and changes that could impact your reputation in the future. Say you found that your competitors have started integrating AI for better service. You, too, want to provide these services to the users.

The information you’ll get in the first step will form the basis for a consistent reputation management strategy. The strategy should outline your business’s goal with every shared information. It must include goals, preferred online reputation monitoring and management tools, and timing.

Ideally, the strategy should address:

  • Who (individuals or departments) will regularly monitor online conversations to track your business reputation? If your budget allows, consider hiring a brand reputation manager.
  • How would you respond to different comments, online reviews, and mentions?

Even if the research and audit reveal a positive online reputation, keep your crisis management strategy ready.

Here are some common types of crises you can plan for:

  • Site or platform outage: While outages are sometimes inevitable, keep all available communication channels (emails, social media, CRMs, etc.) Open to inspire confidence in customers while your IT team fixes the issue.
  • Product issues and customer criticism: Whether it’s a sudden surge of negative reviews after a batch of defective items got delivered or a lunch gone wrong, prepare your team to tackle the situation
Example of negative customer feedback
  • Compliance and legal consideration: Stay on top of legal and regulatory requirements, especially regarding security breaches. Ensure your site complies with the TCPA consent agreement and take appropriate measures to protect customer data and privacy.
  • Global events, crises, and tragedies: Audiences expect brands to take a stand or respond promptly and tastefully to current events. It’ll boil down to your company values, so ensure you don’t hurt user sentiment.

Other than these, there are certain industry/business-specific crises. The likelihood of such risk will surface in the research stage. Review them and create an action plan for your brand reputation management strategy.

Establish a Reputation Monitoring Routine

Customers’ sentiments about your brand–especially online– can change at the slightest provocation.

That’s why maintaining a positive brand reputation requires keeping up with these. To achieve this, monitor your reputation and consistently analyze all conversations about your brand.

Here are some expert tips on this:

  • Use advanced monitoring tools to track mentions of your brand across different platforms
  • Engage in social listening and monitor trending topics, hashtags, and conversations in your niche.
  • Define and track key metrics and KPIs (analysis of brand sentiment, online reviews, customer satisfaction scores, engagement rates, brand mentions, etc).
  • Collaborate across departments such as customer service, public relations, and marketing to coordinate responses and align strategies.

You can also use online reputation management services if you don’t want to monitor your online reputation yourself.

Contribute to Your Community

When boosting your brand’s reputation, nothing works like offering genuine value to your community and cultivating real connections with your audience.

Let’s look at Patagonia, an outdoor clothing and gear company popular for its environmental activism and brand authenticity.

Contribute to Your Community

Their “1% for the planet” and “Worn wear” initiatives have helped them build a reputation as a socially responsible brand, attracting environmentally conscious customers.

However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated when you start. You can create E-commerce customer rewards programs for missions that drive you.

For example, a percentage of profit (say, 5%) made on a specific product or category will go to providing school supplies for poverty-stricken children. In return, you can reward the customers with a freebie or discount coupon for the next purchase.

Find your unique ways to give back and participate. If unsure, try asking for suggestions in Facebook groups and other community platforms.

Maintain a Strong Employer Brand

Companies with good employer brands attract the top talents, and companies with top talents consistently excel–it’s a virtuous cycle. No wonder your brand reputation matters more during recruitment than at any other time.

You can spend all day creating a compelling brand story and boosting your reputation in the market, but if you don’t have a strong employer brand–86% of employees won’t even apply for your open position. On top of that, since a business is only as good as its workforce, there’s a lot at stake here.

What is Employer Branding ?

Source

Therefore, employer branding should also be a part of building your brand’s online reputation. Here are a few things you can focus on:

  • Focus on your unique value proposition (your social activism, opportunity for career advancement, work-life balance, or employee reward packages).
  • Invest in employee development programs (courses, training, learning incentives, etc.).
  • Cultivate a robust onboarding process that engages and excites employees about their roles.
  • Make your current employees your brand ambassadors. Share their online reviews and testimonials on your hiring page and social media.

Since money is a massive part of the employer brand equation, you must have a reliable payroll management system. For smaller teams, payroll outsourcing is also a great choice since it can ensure timely payments, reduce errors, and free up valuable time and resources to focus on other areas–like employee engagement.

Take Hold of Your Finances

Now, let’s talk money. Financial stability is important for most operations and inculcating trust and credibility among customers, employees, investors/shareholders, suppliers, and more.

Start by establishing solid financial foundations. Map out your goals, create a budget, and manage your cash flows. Maintain transparency and share regular updates with stakeholders, such as investors and creditors.

Leverage technology, like AP automation tools, to optimize your account’s payment process, from invoices to payments. It’ll help streamline financial processes and improve accuracy and compliance, thus boosting confidence in your brand.

Set up financial controls and internal policies. Monitor your performance, conduct regular audits, and ensure everyone follows the rules.

Track Social Sentiments

People will talk about you, and you will want to keep track of it–that’s social listening. However, figuring out the real sentiments behind those conversations can be tricky. That’s where social sentiment tools come in handy.

It’ll include tracking your brand mentions across social media and analyzing the collected data–offering you invaluable insights about your audience’s true opinions, behaviors, and feelings. Through this, you’ll know what mentioners think about when talking about your brand online.

Other than boosting your brand reputation, social sentiment tracking will also help you:

  • Build better relationships with the audience
  • Find potential influencers to collaborate with
  • In the brand auditing process
  • Track positive and negative reviews
  • Crisis management
  • Staying a step ahead of the competition

Let’s not forget that it’ll help you strengthen your employer brand by identifying the latest talents’ demands. When employers provide mentorship as part of their upskilling program, this tends to be followed by employee mentorship programs. Add this to your employee packages to attract the best possible staff.

Media monitoring campaign

Track Your Results

After implementing various brand reputation management strategies, you will want to ensure they work. There are a few different KPIs, tracking and assessing, which will show the results of your efforts, including

  • Net promoter score
  • Brand and customer loyalty
  • Financial and sales performance
  • Stakeholder surveys
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Social media reach
  • Repeat purchase rate
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Share of voice

Depending on your unique business goals and needs, you can add more metrics to the mix. In the long run, this will help you best track your brand equity, health, and perception. You can use online reputation management software to easily track your results.

track your results

The Next Move Is Yours

Brand reputation building is a never-ending process. Everything from your product quality to your views on sensitive topics never ceases to shape your brand perception.

Keep the ball in your court with a strong brand reputation management strategy at hand. You’ll get to decide how your users feel about you, or at least pursue them to see you in a positive light.

The nine tips shared above are great for new businesses. Maintaining a strong brand reputation will become more complex as your business grows and require more sophisticated steps. The secret is to keep experimenting with different strategies.

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Ciara Byrne

Ciara Byrnes spends most of her time reporting on digital marketing for an over-stressed audience of marketers and business owners trying to keep up with the fast pace of change. To center herself, she has become a wellness enthusiast, reaching “highs” like morning yoga on the porch of her family’s summer lake cabin to “lows” like failing to convince herself that wheatgrass is actually yummy.

Copywriter @Mention