What does it take to save your damaged brand reputation? Will it be easy to regain your good image? How long will it take?
Your brand is more than just a stylish logo: it’s a valuable corporate asset in which you’ve made a considerable investment. Its worth is both tangible and fungible in many businesses, with a line in the Profit & Loss statement and a significant role to play in a company’s market valuation. However, the brand is delicate. It’s as fragile as glass. Therefore, understanding how to protect it from typical blunders is essential. Learning how to protect your brand reputation makes all the difference.
Saving your brand from ruin or damaged reputation will help your business grow. From the perspective of customers, your brand is who you are. Your social proof, influence, and capital in the marketplace will suffer if you don’t preserve your reputation and brand image. A strong brand serves as a fulcrum for a variety of products and services. But it’s a two-way street: no brand can afford to carry a product that doesn’t live up to its essential values. Ask yourself, before you attach your brand to a new product or service, what promise does your brand convey to customers? Is the new application able to deliver on this promise?
Brand Reputation Management
One of the most crucial aspects to succeed in business is brand reputation management. Repairing one’s reputation and the activity of identifying a unique brand value and strategically marketing that value within a target market is known as reputation management. The majority of brands’ reputation-management efforts are aimed at increasing their market exposure and sales. It might also be to establish a respectable brand in a new and growing market or even to develop a new target audience. Building a brand image that people like and trust takes a long time and effort, yet it can all be undone in an instant. It takes a blink of an eye or a snap of a finger to damage one’s brand. Certain issues that organizations must deal with might seriously harm a brand’s image if not handled effectively.
Additionally, one of the biggest causes for brand failure is when a business fails to identify its target market. This event happens more often than you think. Preserving your brand is easier said than done. Everyone has sought to hop on the brand wagon in recent years. Everyone has tried producing buzz, being hip, embracing the trend on marketing, and breaking through the static. Most recently, the late, lamented dotcoms led the charge, motivated by the idea that pouring infinite amounts of money at the consumer would establish a fantastic brand — even if the campaign didn’t involve a meaningful product or service. Never before in marketing history have so many businesses spent so much for so little.
Occasionally, businesses find themselves on the wrong course. Some organizations just need someone to step in and make difficult decisions to correct the course, whether it’s due to a bad strategy, inept management, or even a collection of little problems (the “thousand papercuts”) that drag down the entire operation.
When your organization faces a brand reputation crisis, you must move quickly to restore your public image. Otherwise, your brand might lose market value and fall into a financial quagmire. So, how can brand executives avoid reputational harm that might lead to catastrophic occurrences such as insolvency and bankruptcy?
There are ways for you to save your sinking brand. You can do it through brand reputation management. The business trends of the previous years may come and go, but what is said about your firm online might haunt your business for a lifetime. That is why you must adhere to best practices in reputation management and take proactive actions to offer the best public image possible.
Protect Your #1 Asset! Save Your Damaged Brand Reputation.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of a few product failures from well-known corporations. The Ford Edsel, Google Glass, and the “New Coke” spring to memory. However, many famous brands experienced numerous failures–or at least, a rough roller-coaster ride–before eventually succeeding. What are their secrets?
Without further ado, let’s hop on to the first secret step.
Step One: Evaluate the level of damage caused and create a strategy
When your company is facing a reputation crisis, the first step is to analyze the severity of the situation. This is the point at which you take a step back and assess the extent of the damage. You should assess changes in corporate reputation, a drop in perception among employees and clients, and a negative attitude toward the organization to determine how serious the matter is.
It’s also critical to have a strategy in place before attempting to repair your brand’s image. You should always go to great lengths to have a strong plan for dealing with a reputation issue (ideally before a crisis happens, if you can foresee the touchy aspects of your offering, market, customers, etc.). In some cases however, the best approach to solve an issue may be to sidestep it and focus on the positive, taking the high road and bringing your brand associated with progress and momentum. Believe it or not, sometimes your rebuttals (or excuses) may backfire by tangling you up deeper into the problem (especially if the problem started out as a “storm in a teacup”) and by giving a legitimacy soapbox to your critics. Is the outcry against your brand coming from your clientèle and usual prospects, or is it coming from people who would never have done business with you to begin with?
Step Two: Monitor your brand’s reputation and credibility (and competitors’)
Checking the search engine results pages (SERP) and utilizing Google Autocomplete are the top two techniques to monitor your online reputation. You may take a proactive approach to maintain the competitiveness of your brand by getting ahead of any unfavorable circumstance. Matomo or Google Analytics not only provide a decent amount of information about your website’s visitors demographics, these tools are particularly useful to analyze spikes in your site’s traffic to identify critical events and potential red flags. Furthermore, you can’t defend against something that is not even on your radar, so make a plan to keep track of your brand and your rivals’. TrackMaven and Rival IQ are two of the more technical tools for tracking your brand online, but Google Alerts and Twitter searches can also be useful.
The truth is that you won’t be able to defend your brand’s reputation on Google and other search engines unless you have such a privileged relationship with them that you can exert power and authority over those platforms–and you most certainly don’t, so don’t put most of your eggs into those baskets. “Big Tech” can pull the rug from under your feet anytime, for any reason. It is critical that your brand ranks well independently, as well as having established history, trust, and equity. That way, you can be confident that you’ll be able to keep it under control. Others will be able to outrank your brand on the first handful of pages of search results if you don’t have this authority, putting your brand’s competitiveness at risk.
Step Three: Plan your media communication approach carefully
The Internet has altered the way people handle and view brand image or reputation. While it can take millions of bucks and years to construct a respected brand, it just takes 45 seconds to set up a social media account and possibly harm an organization’s online image. Nothing is more vital to a company’s health in today’s environment than controlling its brand’s reputation.
Planning takes time and effort. If it’s all about brand reputation, a well-planned media communication approach plays a vital role. After a crisis, the goal of any reputation management approach is to shape public opinion. Part of it will entail utilizing the media, with brand executives issuing a statement in public and selecting the appropriate individual to deliver it. Because you’re defending your brand’s position in the court of public opinion, this may not be as simple as it sounds. As a result, you must be aware of the influence of your press release. Nobody said it would be easy to protect your brand reputation!
To plan your media communication approach, you may want to build an online crisis-listening tool to detect surges in unfavorable discourse before it reaches bloggers and the internet media. Use social media to clear up client misconceptions, reducing total complaints while also increasing brand awareness. Have analytics in place to assist you in making well-informed decisions. A sudden increases in traffic from popular websites like Reddit or HackerNews, where the best and worst of the net regularly cross paths, might be a blessing or the onset of a PR catastrophe.
Step Four: Limit potential hijacks and lookalikes
To limit potential surprises, you might wish to own all of the domains that could jeopardize your company’s brand image in the future. This includes .com, .net, .org, and other relevant domain extensions, including country-specific TLDs. You will be able to govern these sites and not be caught off guard by their content if you own these URLs. Top-level domains that are similar to your brand but not under your control may do a lot of damage as they naturally tend to rank highly in search engines. Fixing this reactively instead of proactively can cost you a lot of time and money.
Step Five: Maintain transparency and utilize testimonials
As you carefully plan your media communication approach, keep in mind that maintaining transparency plays a vital role in saving your brand from a ruined reputation. When you handle your brand’s public issues, transparency is essential. Remember that you build your business’ brand reputation on your delivery and not on your words of promise. Here, you must show how you’re resolving the issue in a trustworthy manner. If you make any promises during the crisis, make sure you follow through on them if you want your brand to regain its good image and reputation to the public. This way, you can reestablish trust and core corporate values.
Furthermore, you should be able to remove and/or lessen the number of difficulties you have with your brand’s reputation by posting actual and believable testimonials on your website. This is due to the fact that you will have genuine and authentic testimonials on your website vouching for your company’s reputation. By doing so, you’ll make it less vital for potential clients to seek out third-party information or testimonials before making a purchase choice.
In today’s business environment, one of the distinguishing criteria of success is trust. It is an opportunity for the brand to communicate with one voice to the public while showcasing its underlying values. Customers should be reminded of the company’s progress throughout the years to achieve its current success. The bottom line here is reassuring customers of your dedication and demonstrating the steps you’ve taken to secure future success.
Bonus tip: Envision your future.
Have the ability to look forward to your brand’s success in the future. This way, you can create and forecast the best plans to bring your brand on top. Your ruined brand reputation in the past should be a lesson learned and a stepping stone for a better opportunity to grow and succeed. The previous crisis should be your backbone to determine how you can protect your brand’s image in the long run.
To effectively manage your brand’s reputation, instead of controlling discussions, the most effective brands participate in them. They pay more attention to what their audiences are saying than they do to what they are saying. Rather than co-opting, they collaborate. And they add to the conversation because of the unique value and insight they may provide. Instead of focusing inward on what is important to you, your marketing approach should be focused outward on what connects with your audience.
It is evident that the field of brand reputation management is rapidly changing. Use the most up-to-date industry best practices to provide your company with a competitive advantage. It may be necessary to hire a team of SEO, PR, and communications specialists to implement a repair plan, set new policies for your company, and construct strong internal and external business strategies to fix your brand in the long run.
Of course, every situation is different, and often it is not as clear-cut as it seems. You might be an honest and trustworthy organization that was merely caught up in an unfortunate event that was beyond your control at the time! The good news is that putting your reputation management in line may be done in logical and established phases.