10th Aug 2021
Brand reputation refers to how a particular brand (whether for an individual or a company) is viewed by others. A favorable brand reputation means consumers trust your company and feel good about purchasing your goods or services. An unfavorable brand reputation, however, will cause consumers to distrust your company and be hesitant about purchasing your products or services.
While companies used to be able to shape their brand reputation with ease using traditional advertising and public relations, it is much harder to keep others from damaging your brand without online reputation management in today’s world.
Recent business trends have proven that brands by themselves are of increasing importance. Business leaders and financiers are recognising that a strong brand can ultimately be monetised down the road. For example, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube are all companies with exceptionally strong brands but whose revenue streams (in the beginning) have been low or non-existent.
Nevertheless, these companies all either received buyout offers or additional investments at valuations unrelated to actual cash flows. That says something.
Brand Reputation is community driven. Its appeal is often on a more human or emotional level and is acted out through user-engagement. It is greatly enhanced by the interactions of community members with the brand itself and by community members interacting with other community members.
The strongest brands are grown organically and start with a focus on building internal relationships – allowing collaboration to flourish and building passion to drive the organisation’s mission and objectives. After establishing such internal buy-in, the potential for building a strong brand is limited only by the degree of external engagement a firm builds into its online presence, marketing, and CRM efforts.
A positive brand reputation builds loyalty and increases customer confidence in your brand and product, ultimately driving sales and bottom-line growth.
Brand Reputation Management Strategies:
- Public Relations: A strong PR program positions you as a thought leader and expert in your field in major newspapers, business publications, blogs and lead generating trade outlets. As a critical component to successful brand reputation management, PR can improve brand perception, manage negative sentiment, inform customer opinion, and increase your web presence. A good PR team can also secure high profile speaking engagements and award opportunities.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Lasting SEO strategies put you at the top of search engine results, where customers are searching for resources and solutions to timely problems. If you are not present where consumers are searching, you will be left behind to competitors who are there. In brand reputation management, SEO leverages strategic keywords and useful content that drives traffic to your website and grows sales.
- Content Marketing: White papers, a company blog, contributed articles and industry research reports are examples of content marketing’s role in brand reputation management. Producing lead-generating content across an array of channels raises awareness about your brand and benefits of your products. By positioning your company as an informative industry source on topics your audience is interested in, you will gain more website visitors and potential customers.
- Website Development: A strong website with easy to navigate features and an enjoyable user experience can improve your brand reputation management efforts. Focusing on customers and making it simple for them to find the information they need will improve brand loyalty and reduce site abandonment.
- Social Media: Although social media is a relatively new arena for many B2B companies, it is an integral part of brand reputation management. Social media is a great way to make your business accessible, personable, and focused on the customer.
The Benefits of Longer-Term Brand Building:
To help highlight the rewards that will eventually come from an investment in brand building let’s look at the differences between strategic brand development and tactical sales and marketing.
Tactical sales and marketing: best summed as ‘bringing in the business’.
In a nutshell; lead generation, mining prospects, making sales, utilising your network, attending events, and implementing marketing campaigns. This is a necessary component in every business to attract short term work, which might typically involve, meetings and sales pitches, direct mail, advertising, online marketing, through the line campaigns etc.
Long term strategic brand development: building a profile and reputation and owning a position in the minds of our audience.
Building a strong brand and profile means greater general awareness of who we are and what we do, meaning less time, effort, resource, and cost is required in tactical marketing in the long run (this is what most companies neglect, and yet can make such a difference in a competitive marketplace). This may include a clearly defined brand identity and personality, thought leadership and blog posts, content creation, events, PR, video, and social media.
Ways to Measure Social Media and Its Impact on Your Brand:
1. Measuring Social Media Exposure:
How many people could you have reached with your message?
In social media, this measurement is about as reliable as a print magazine’s circulation but knowing your potential audience does have value because it represents your potential sales lead pool.
2. Measuring Engagement:
How many people ‘actually’ did something with your message?
This is one of the most important measurements because it shows how many people ‘actually’ cared enough about what you had to say to result in some kind of action.
3. Measuring Influence:
This category gets into a bit of a soft space for measurement. Influence is a subjective metric that relies on your company’s perspective for definition. Basically, you want to look at whether the engagement metrics listed above are positive, neutral, or negative in sentiment. In other words, did your campaign influence positive vibes toward the brand or did it create bad mojo?
4. The Lead Generation Funnel:
After you’ve measured through the influence portion of the funnel, you’re now creeping into where too many companies are starting their measurement efforts: the lead generation funnel. This is where the brand awareness portion of the funnel ends, and the traditional ROI-driven action begins.
Return on Investment – ROI – Formula and Use:
Return on investment (ROI) is a measure of the profit earned from each investment. Like the “return” (or profit) that you earn on your portfolio or bank account, it’s calculated as a percentage. In simple terms, the ROI formula is:
(Return / Investment) x 100% = ROI
ROI calculations for marketing campaigns can be complex — you may have many variables on both the profit side and the investment (cost) side. But understanding the formula is essential if you need to produce the best possible results with your marketing investments.
How do we measure reputation?
Like any asset, reputation should be measured and understood in the context of your company’s business goals. Long term, reputation measurement and management are most effective when reputational equity and risk are clearly linked to the business outcomes of business-relevant stakeholders and their own specific, measurable business-supportive behaviours. In these organisations, the stakes are recognised as too high simply to measure reputation to work toward a higher rank or score. Scores provide good rallying cries but carry real gravitas when they are clearly linked to where the company is going. This means that any measurement instrument (and potentially the research design overall) will necessarily evolve, as refreshed business plans require the company to understand reputation in new ways, and as there is a change in the answer to what a company needs its reputation to do for it in the coming year.
Essentials to Building Your Brand on Social Media:
1. Choose networks that support your brand image
- Google Business
2. Provide valuable and shareable content
It should go without saying, but you’ll create a much stronger brand reputation if you focus on creating useful content that viewers will want to share, rather than cranking out content to meet arbitrary publishing calendars or that covers subjects only you’d want to read.
3. Leverage influencers
Publishing killer content to your social profiles is important, but it’s only one part of the equation. If you have a relatively unknown brand, your voice is likely getting lost in the noise. While you can eventually build your own audience through the creation of great content, this strategy is going to take time.
4. Use social campaigns to promote content
A growing number of brands use strategies such as contests and other social media campaigns to successfully gain visibility and generate leads. To take advantage of this effect, provide your audience with valuable incentives that encourage user participation and make sure that your campaigns offers value to all participants. While social media is one of the most powerful ways to reach new leads, it’s easy to waste time or alienate people if you don’t use it appropriately. That’s what makes having a sound social media strategy in place so important.
REAL DESIGN can help with any new brand development or updating and enhancing an existing brand with developing online/offline marketing and social campaigns to promote and engage with potential customers.