Running a business involves juggling your priorities and making sure you focus on the things that will deliver the biggest benefits.
Brand reputation will always be on this list, but here is a look at why it should rise to the top of the agenda this year.
Digital platforms are changing the game
In the past, managing your brand reputation would have been a fairly one-sided affair. Today, social media and search engines give customers a voice, along with the tools to instantly check up on the brands they encounter. As such, news spreads faster than ever, whether good or bad.
This means online reputation management has become essential for businesses that want to control the conversation surrounding their brand, as well as to make sure that people are talking about them in the first place.
A combination of SEO and social media marketing techniques is required to capitalize on this situation and avoiding giving competitors the upper hand through inaction. Whether that might involve overhauling websites to improve search rank or tracking social media mentions to nip complaints in the bud and placate irate customers with a discount code or some other token, this process can be multifaceted and extremely effective for bolstering a brand’s reputation.
Loyalty is a rare commodity
It is a well-known fact that the cost of keeping an existing customer onboard is far smaller than that of winning over a new customer, but with a wealth of choice available to consumers, it is harder than ever to instill brand loyalty.
This is especially true in the online retail sphere, where loyalty is contingent not only on the quality of the user experience when using sites but also on e-commerce personalization. Studies have shown that 49% of consumers consider personalized offers essential to securing their continued support of a particular brand.
Meanwhile, a brand’s reputation can become tarnished if customers encounter their biggest bugbears when trying to buy online, such as subpar returns policies that create problems when seeking a refund, as well as lengthy shipping times.
Counterfeiting and fraud are on the rise
Even if you are meticulous in the management of your brand’s reputation through social media and your wider web presence, it is still possible for damage to be done by third parties through unscrupulous misuse of your IP.
Whether knock-offs of your top products are being knocked up overseas and sold through online marketplaces at a discount, or fraudsters are harnessing your brand’s name as a means of duping innocent people into parting with their personal info and even cash, the threats are complex and ever-evolving.
The growing number of phony goods being sold through Amazon and other sites is seemingly proving a tricky problem to curtail. It often requires brands to check for fake imitations of their products themselves so that they can be reported and removed.
Then there are the scams that leverage a brand’s reputation to dupe unsuspecting victims either via email or over the phone, including misleading tech support calls and a number of other strategies.
While it is impossible for businesses to stop counterfeiting and fraud on their own, it is necessary for firms of all sizes to stay abreast of these issues and take action in the event that they are targeted, as this will preemptively limit any potential damage that might be done to their brand reputation.
Mistakes are easy to make
It is worth noting that while ignoring the need to manage your brand’s reputation is a bad idea, it is also entirely possible to slip up and make things worse through your efforts to improve it.
There are plenty of examples of big brands making misjudged use of social media, whether through one-off posts which are in response to some major event or even in the context of a carefully planned campaign that falls at the first hurdle because of a small but important oversight.
Brands need to tread lightly to avoid many of the reputational pitfalls that litter their path in 2020, and often the best way to avoid making mistakes is to learn from those that others have already made.