Brand reputation is all about a company’s image.
As soon as a business starts trading, it’s in the limelight. That means the way customers perceive the business becomes everything, and the management of brand reputation should be of the utmost importance to business owners.
Brand reputation definition: what does it mean?
Every business should aspire to maintain a good brand reputation.
But what exactly does brand reputation mean?
In a nutshell, brand reputation refers to how customers view the business as a whole. If a lot of customers are distrustful of the brand then the reputation is poor, yet if most customers heap praise on the brand then the business is managing its reputation well.
It isn’t only the customers that you have to be concerned about as a business owner, though.
There’s also the market to consider, as well as any potential stakeholders of the business.
To keep everybody on board and satisfied, you have to do your very best to deliver exceptional customer service and constantly improve your product or service based upon the real feedback you receive.
You also have to be aware of criticism and respond to it proactively and politely rather than ignoring it which could disastrously lead to the Streisand Effect.
A business that has a positive brand reputation is one that is trusted by its customers and offers outstanding services.
Why is building a great brand reputation really important?
In some ways, building a great brand reputation is more important for what it protects you from than for what it offers your business.
The last thing you want after all is to have distrusting customers that don’t want to do business with you anymore due to your poor brand reputation.
Here’s a list of five compelling reasons to consider working on your brand reputation today:
1. Increases trust
The number one reason to develop your brand reputation is to foster trust in your business.
If a consumer doesn’t trust what you say as a business, then your products or services will be worthless to them.
For any business, while the bottom line is perhaps the most important indicator of growth and success, it’s customer satisfaction and trust that are what contribute most to the health of the business.
You want customers to buy from you, and for them to feel glad that they chose you over the competition.
They want to know that they have the product they wanted, but also that their money is going to a trustworthy company that’s always looking to stay on top of their game and improve.
If a brand does something to harm their reputation, such as when Samsung failed to address safety concerns regarding their phones catching fire, then sales will inevitably falter and customer trust will be damaged.
This is the last thing you want when trying to develop a budding business.
2. Can get you more sales
Profit is key for any business, so any strategy you can employ to boost sales is worth giving a go.
Whether it’s making the most of free marketing in the form of customer reviews or developing brand reputation, you should be willing to try it if there’s a chance of increasing your revenue.
How does building brand reputation lead to more sales?
Simply put, the more customers trust your business the more likely they are to part with their hard-earned cash.
3. Increases loyalty
Just as with trust, loyalty can be an invaluable trait to foster in your customer base.
Because loyalty is what ensures repeat business.
If you want customers who buy from you to only buy from you, then you need to create a positive brand reputation that makes it impossible for them to consider buying from anyone else.
Think about tea in England, for example.
The majority of tea-drinkers in England would probably tell you that they only drink one brand of tea.
That is to say, they are loyal to a single brand.
Once a brand has secured the loyalty of enough customers, it has a built-in profit-generating model which is a great way to ensure long-term success.
If you’re a sustainable chocolate brand you want to be the best sustainable chocolate brand. Focus on your USPs, and shout them from the rooftops at every possible opportunity. Hire a social media manager and ask them to retweet testimonials about your product as well as posting customer stories that help other consumers invest in your business and brand messaging.
4. Helps growth
If you’re an entrepreneur, you won’t be satisfied with just setting a business up, you’ll want to see it grow and flourish.
But the truth is that you’re going to have a hard time growing a business if you don’t have a strong brand reputation.
For a start, without a stellar brand reputation how do you plan on incentivizing better employee performance and holding onto your workers?
Nobody wants to work for a dead-end company that has a bad reputation and declining sales.
And on the other side, you have the customers that will only want to splash out on the products and services that make sense to them. While some customers aren’t discerning about the company they buy from, many will be. That means you need to develop a solid brand reputation to get the sales you need to grow the business.
Finally, if you do have a positive brand reputation, then there’s a strong chance that the media will start to notice. Once you have exposure in a few big blog posts or news articles, your business will go from strength to strength and you will almost certainly see tangible signs of growth.
5. It is an advantage against competitors
One of the best ways to grow your business is to stand out among the competition.
How can you expect to become one of the top businesses in your industry if your competitors offer a better service or have a superior brand reputation?
Developing your brand reputation is one of the easiest ways to stand out, even if your product or service isn’t considered to be as good as that offered by your competitors.
The key is to make the customer believe that you care about their problems and about finding a solution to them that makes sense.
What this looks like on a practical level is taking a proactive approach to responding to comments, reacting and acting upon feedback, and maintaining an active social media presence.
How to have a good brand reputation?
Now that you have a good idea of what a brand reputation is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can work on building one for your business. The following seven approaches to running a business should boost your brand reputation in no time.
1. Pay attention to content marketing
Content marketing is crucial if you are to reach your customers and grow your business organically.
If you plan out your content well, you will be able to boost your local SEO ranking and spread the word about your business.
What exactly is content?
Content is text which aims to engage the reader, offer them value, and at times act as a lead magnet for a product or service you offer.
As such, you can offer value in the form of entertainment which garners good faith in your customers but also make them aware of your brand and what you could offer them.
A good content plan will have a variety of blog posts, customer testimonials, and infographics. The last thing you want to do is rely heavily on one form of content, since if you’re going to share it on social media you want people to engage with it.
2. Provide a good customer experience
If you give the customer a good experience whenever they buy something from you or engage with your business in any way, then you increase the likelihood of repeat business and customer loyalty.
Just like the example provided earlier with tea-drinkers in the UK, you want to be the one brand that customers always think of when they have a need.
One way to do that is to make sure that every purchase they make runs smoothly and all aspects of your business are user-friendly, especially the digital components.
3. Provide excellent customer support
These days, it’s often not enough to just offer your customers one way of getting in touch with you.
If you only have a phone number or an email address, you could be alienating a large portion of your customer base.
While it’s easy to think that most people would be fine giving your business a ring when they have a problem, not everyone enjoys talking (or waiting) on the phone. Some people prefer to communicate through email, while others prefer talking to a real person via direct message online.
Try to provide as many customer support options as possible since this will ease frustration on the customer’s end and make it much more likely that you’ll be able to resolve their issues quickly and get glowing reviews as a result.
4. Collect reviews
Speaking of reviews, if you want to build and uphold a positive brand reputation, then you simply can’t do it without collecting reviews from your customers.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Google, Yelp, or Tripadvisor, if you don’t have many reviews your business is going to suffer.
Primarily because the more reviews you have, the greater your exposure will be.
If you want to expand your online presence and reach as many customers as possible then you need to collect reviews – even if they end up being negative!
In fact, some negative reviews can do more for your business than positive ones. If you demonstrate that you’re open to criticism and can respond to it and improve as a result of it, then you’re doing better than a lot of other brands.
5. Learn from reviews and change
As we just mentioned, reviews provide a great opportunity for business growth.
While getting a lot of positive reviews is great, and you should aim for this, you will inevitably get your fair share of negative reviews too.
Every business does.
It’s what you do with the negative reviews that matters.
Aim to respond to them as quickly as possible, politely addressing the customer and asking them how you can improve your services for next time.
You may not get anything from the customer in question, but future customers will see that you are responsive and will appreciate it.
6. Harness Social Media
Social media is such a powerful tool that it would be foolish to set up a business these days and not make the most out of it.
If you don’t already have someone running your social media accounts, you should hire a social media manager soon.
That’s because maintaining a positive brand reputation is an ongoing process that requires constant retweets, reposts, and lots of great content delivered directly to your customers.
7. Use SEO
If you have a solid content strategy, then make sure you incorporate best SEO practises in every piece you put out.
SEO refers to the practise of adding keywords and optimizing a piece of content so that it can climb the rankings of search engines and achieve a greater level of visibility.
Without SEO, a piece of content isn’t worth much,
With SEO, a piece of content can reach hundreds or even thousands of eyeballs and drum up interest in your business.
If you’re unsure how to include SEO in your content, you’ll need to find an SEO writer or SEO expert who can help you out.