Your brand is more than just your logo or the products and services you offer; it’s the total of your audience’s perceptions of you. That’s why your brand reputation is so important. A strong reputation can help you attract new customers and business partners. In contrast, a weak reputation can do irreparable damage to your bottom line.
The importance of your reputation
Your brand’s reputation is vital for many reasons. First and foremost, it directly affects your bottom line. According to a 2018 study, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And half of the consumers will only do business with companies with 4- or 5-star ratings. So if your brand has a bad reputation, you’re likely losing out on valuable customers and revenue.
Another reason your brand’s reputation is so important is that it can help you attract top talent. When job seekers evaluate potential employers, they often consider the company’s reputation. If your brand has a good reputation, you’ll have an easier time recruiting high-quality employees.
Finally, your brand’s reputation can give you a competitive advantage. If customers perceive your brand to be trustworthy and reliable, they’re more likely to choose you over a competitor with a less favorable reputation—even if that competitor has lower prices or more convenient shipping options.
Building your reputation
As you may know, building a strong reputation takes time. But with one mistake, you can irrevocably damage your brand—and it can take years to recover. So how do you ensure that your brand’s reputation stays strong? Here are a few suggestions:
Hire PR services
Believe it or not, professional public relations services can be a valuable asset in managing your brand’s reputation. PR experts can help you proactively manage your reputation by developing and executing strategies to protect and enhance your image. They can also help you react quickly and effectively to any negative publicity.
Monitor what’s being said about your brand online
You can’t address negative perceptions of your brand if you’re not aware of them in the first place. So set up Google Alerts for your company name and key product names. That way, you’ll be notified anytime someone mentions your brand online.
Be Authentic and Transparent
In today’s world of fake news and constant spin, authenticity and transparency are more important than ever. Your audience wants to know that they can trust you, so don’t try to hide behind a false façade. Be open and honest in everything you do, and ensure that your actions align with your words.
Communicate Regularly and Effectively
Another key to maintaining a strong brand reputation is effective communication. It would help if you were proactive in communicating with your audience, addressing both the positive and negative aspects of your brand honestly and openly. Additionally, you need to make sure that your communications are timely; don’t wait until there’s a crisis to start talking to your audience!
Under-promise and Over-deliver
In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s tempting to make grandiose promises to win new business. However, this can often backfire if you cannot deliver on those promises. It’s much better to under-promise and over-deliver; this way, you’ll always exceed your customers’ expectations rather than falling short.
Delight Your Customers
Last but not least, one of the best ways to build a strong reputation for your brand is to simply delight your customers. Go above and beyond in everything you do, whether it’s offering impeccable customer service or going the extra mile to resolve a problem. By delivering a truly exceptional customer experience, you’ll create advocates for your brand who will spread the word far and wide about how great you are!
Encourage customers to leave reviews
Sending follow-up emails after a purchase is a great way to encourage customers to leave positive reviews on sites like Google and Yelp. Just be sure not to offer any sort of incentive in exchange for a review, as that could get you in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission.
Stay up-to-date on industry news and trends
Make sure you’re regularly reading trade publications and blogs related to your industry so you can identify any potential threats to your brand’s reputation before they happen—and develop a plan for how to deal with them quickly and effectively if they do occur.
The bottom line
A strong brand reputation is essential for any business that wants to be successful. By being authentic and transparent, communicating effectively, under-promising and over-delivering, and delighting your customers, you can build a reputation that will serve you well for years to come.