Whether your brand reflects who you are as a business or not, we all have one. Your reputation is your currency. Companies with strong positive reputations attract better talent and are perceived as delivering more value through their products and services. Their customers are more loyal and buy broader ranges of products and services. This makes organizations especially vulnerable to anything that damages their reputations.
Once upon a time, companies did not have to worry much about what customers had to say about their brands. Customers’ opinions were shared with only the few people they knew and wanted to tell. Today, communication is a wide-open book where customers can share their thoughts, opinions, compliments, complaints, about companies anytime and anywhere. Today, a customer’s negative opinion about your company or its products can be spread around the world within moments and remain there available for others to read for years.
Communication in marketing has changed dramatically in recent years. According to marketingtechblog.com, 70 percent of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers through Facebook. 52 percent of online adults use two or more social media sites (Pew Research Center).
Communication is now a two-way process. Customers can research, interact with, and comment about companies for any reason to a worldwide audience of other potential customers. In this light, it’s crucial that companies continuously monitor what is being said about their brands because there are endless forms of communication available between.
Warren Buffet has noted, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”
So how do you protect your reputation in this kind of world?
Here are a few steps we recommend:
Monitor religiously—Track what is being said about your company, both the positive and negative comments, across all media as if your reputation depends on it. Because it does! Make consistent monitoring of your reputation your mantra—because negative perceptions and comments can, overnight, wreck a reputation that you’ve built through years of hard work. And by monitoring, you can better plan your responses.
Communicate, communicate, communicate—Honest and sincere communication is key to any healthy relationship and communicating with customers and would-be customers is no different.
Respond—Stay aware of your customers’ perceptions and comments so you can respond to both positive and negative feedback in a timely manner. A slow response communicates indecisiveness or worse, apathy. A timely response can help your company avoid or limit possible damage to your reputation.
Build goodwill—By being proactive and building goodwill through ongoing positive actions, a company can stay “ahead of the curve” and build a positive reputation that can lead to increased customer loyalty and minimize the damage of negative criticism.
We can’t emphasize this enough: a good reputation is hard to beat; a bad reputation is hard to overcome. Think about it. Are you aware of what is being said about your brand?
Are you actively managing your brand reputation? Take the Brand Traffic Control Assessment and find out.