Nothing is more important to a business than its reputation. Without a good reputation, success is limited and a company’s long-term future will be bleak. Corporate reputation management is taking centre stage as a key business issue in most organisations the world over. Having a successful corporate image is a very important marketing tool for a company.
As the customer champion within an organisation, and a driver of the business, a marketer must take on reputation management as a critical task even if the function may not technically be part of his mandate. But maintaining and building a brand’s reputation is and must be topmost among a marketer’s priorities.
Brand reputation management is critical to growing a business. A positive brand reputation builds loyalty and increases customer confidence in your brand and product, ultimately driving sales and bottom-line growth.
In today’s competitive environment, brand reputation management has become a bigger priority for companies, especially when online conversations about your brand take place on a 24/7 basis. On social media, online forums, blogs, news sites, search engines and other Internet sources, it’s important for your brand to be prominent and positioned as a knowledgeable, industry-leading resource and solution for your customers.
Keys to Successful Brand Reputation Management
A lot of reputation is based on trust – so the starting point is to assess the company’s reputation. This implies listening to what your various audiences – customers, channel partners, associates, employees – feel about you. For starters you could monitor review sites, and deploy listening tools to figure out what’s being said on Social Media.
Next comes the need to respond and take corrective action. Often this may mean changing internal systems and processes so as to address the responses in a timely and effective manner. Lastly follow through and measure the results. Reputation does not have to be just protected but constantly improved. This process has to be continuous – in a digital world where consumers’ ability to amplify their views means that a company and brands reputation is always on trial.
Its also important for a company to stay consistent with its values – as reputation is built up over time and consistency. Any deviations from core values will have severe repercussions on reputation.
Initiatives to ensure an effective brand reputation management strategy
- A seamless relationship between the Marketing, Public Relations and Customer Service teams. As a critical component to successful brand reputation management, PR can improve brand perception, manage negative sentiment, build customer opinion and increase web presence. Intrinsic also is to ensure a quick response to customer complaints and service issues.
- Build thought leadership for your organisation through advertising, content marketing, presence in key industry forums and positioning your organisation as a credible industry source on topics your audience is interested in.
- Salient SEO strategies that put your organisation at the top of search engine results, where customers are searching for product, resources and solutions to their problems. If you are not present where consumers are searching, you will be left behind to competitors who are there.
- Ensure your company’s web interface is top of the line, with easy to navigate features and an enjoyable user experience. Social media is a great way to make your business accessible, personable and focused on the customer. Also a big indicator of customer sentiment toward your company and brand.
In the hustle and bustle of normal business operations, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of brand reputation management and its impact on corporate growth. As a marketer one has to constantly stay focused to ensure your company and brand’s reputation stays supreme and remains integral to your business’ success.
The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.