Enhancing your brand image: reputation and marketing strategiesPosted on: November 10, 2023
by Ben Nancholas
In a digital and hyperconnected world, reputation management has become an essential consideration for organisational marketing strategies. The popularity of social media and online reviews means that a company’s reputation can be shaped quickly and profoundly. And while a reputation can be a powerful asset, it could also become a significant liability.
However, it’s important to remember that reputation management is not just a defensive strategy. It’s actually best used as a proactive approach for shaping how a brand is perceived. Businesses that effectively manage their reputations can safeguard their brands, build trust with their target audiences, and leverage their positive image to drive more successful marketing campaigns.
Why reputation management is important
Reputation management – the proactive and reactive approach to controlling and influencing how a brand is perceived by the public – involves monitoring and shaping public perception online and offline to ensure that the brand is seen in a positive light as much as possible.
This is important because the power of public perception can make or break a brand: a good reputation can attract potential customers while a bad one can deter them.
According to a 2023 survey by BrightLocal, 98% of people read online reviews for local businesses, and 76% of consumers regularly read online reviews when browsing for local businesses. Meanwhile, Reputations, an online reputation management website run by experts in the field, reports that just four negative reviews can cost a company 70% of its potential customers. So it’s clear that maintaining a positive brand reputation – particularly online – is crucial for attracting and retaining customers, and for ensuring that one customer’s bad experience doesn’t create a negative reputation for an entire business.
Best practice in reputation management
1. Develop a reputation management strategy
A comprehensive reputation management strategy is crucial. Begin by setting clear goals for the brand’s online reputation. For example, these might include:
- increasing positive reviews
- mitigating bad reviews
- building a stronger presence on social media.
The goals should then dictate the wider strategy.
2. Monitor the brand online
Effective reputation management requires monitoring what people are saying about the brand. This can include using tools like Google Alerts and social listening platforms to keep track of mentions, notifications, star ratings, reviews, and comments related to the brand name. Real-time monitoring also allows organisations to respond promptly to both praise and criticism.
3. Respond to customer feedback
Engaging with customers is vital. Brands should address negative feedback professionally, empathetically, and quickly. This includes acknowledging the issue, offering a solution, and inviting the customer to discuss the matter privately if necessary.
On the flip side, brands should also express gratitude for positive comments and reviews, and show their audiences that they value their feedback. They can even encourage positive reviews by actively prompting customers to leave feedback on review sites such as Yelp or Google My Business.
Tactics for reputation management
There are a number of tactics and tools that can be used to help manage business reputations, such as:
Creating and distributing high-quality content – such as informative blog posts, videos, and infographics – can help showcase a brand’s expertise and bolster its online reputation. This tactic is most effective when the content is relevant and reflective of the brand’s values, ensuring that the business is positioned as an industry leader and a valuable resource for its target audience.
Social media management
Maintaining an active and engaging presence on social media platforms is essential. This tactic includes regularly posting relevant content, responding to user comments, and engaging with wider online audiences through social media posts. Businesses can also leverage their social media platforms to promote positive reviews and testimonials. This might include sharing success stories and other meaningful content, but it can also be as simple as encouraging people to share their experiences with the brand to generate some word-of-mouth marketing.
Proactive public relations efforts can help businesses control the narrative surrounding their brand. This can include sending press releases about important developments in the company – such as new product launches or community involvement – as well as building media relationships.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a powerful tool for maintaining a strong online presence. It includes ensuring that websites are optimised with brand-relevant keywords, and that content is updated regularly. And the better the SEO, the higher the website is likely to rank in search engine results, such as on Google.
Local business listings online are a small but important element in brand reputation management and digital marketing. Business details should be listed accurately on local directories and review sites, and monitored and updated regularly, to ensure the business appears credible and is visible in local searches.
Wherever an organisation’s target audience includes other businesses or professionals, it should maintain a strong presence on LinkedIn and other professional networks. Use these networks to share valuable industry insights, network with peers, and showcase expertise. Engaging in online communities and forums positions the brand as an expert but also allows it to address any negative comments directly.
How to further leverage reputation management in marketing
Incorporate customer testimonials into marketing materials, particularly customer reviews that highlight exceptional customer experiences. Genuine testimonials can build trust with potential customers and enhance a brand’s credibility. They can be used on business websites, in advertising campaigns, and on social media channels.
Online reputation management software
Use online reputation management (ORM) software to streamline reputation and marketing efforts. These reputation management tools can help automate the monitoring process, aggregate data from various sources, and provide insights into the brand’s online reputation – all of which can feed into optimised marketing strategies. They are increasingly useful when developing and implementing an online reputation management strategy.
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