What Is Brand Reputation?
Brand reputation simply refers to how your brand is perceived by others. Your company’s brand reputation can be influenced and shaped by different external factors and circumstances. However, brand reputation is initially shaped and nurtured by the company’s efforts by focusing on the following trust drivers:
- Vision: Customers and stakeholders should trust in the company’s vision
- Stability: A strong foundation is necessary to build trust
- Development: A company’s ability to continuously develop drives trust
- Benefit: Relevant benefits and value should be provided by the brand
- Relationship: A company must cultivate a great relationship with customers
- Competence: Belief in the company/brand competencies build trust
Why Is Brand Reputation Important?
Your brand reputation matters – a lot. Building a strong brand takes time and plenty of work, but managing and protecting your brand after establishing it is another story.
Trust is one of the main reasons why customers choose and remain loyal to a brand. A majority of consumers – including you and me, prefer brands that we trust and have a good relationship with. This is why brand reputation management is very important.
A positive brand reputation:
- Results in better market positioning
- Builds trust and loyalty in customers
- Increases consumer confidence in your brand
- Drives sales
- Improves bottom line
Brand Crisis And PR Management
Modern businesses have seen many issues and crisis that tested the company’s resilience and forbearance. Here are some best examples of the PR problems and brand crisis that well-known companies faced.
Domino’s Pizza Scandal On YouTube
Two Domino’s staff created videos, five to be exact, of themselves doing unsanitary things to the pizzas and sandwiches they were making. The videos became viral in social media channels which generated a barrage of negative comments against Domino’s. The company had difficulty removing the clips since taking it down required the approval of the person who uploaded the videos. Domino’s shut down and sanitized store operations and fired the two employees. However, the company was severely criticized for not issuing a statement immediately to handle the issue.
Horse Meat Scandal
The horse meat scandal of 2013 roped in major companies and retailers such as Tesco, Ikea, Iceland, Asda, Aldi, Lidl and Co-op. The scandal revolved around the issue that foods that were advertised as made with beef or cow’s meat contained improperly declared and even undeclared horse meat. Although horse meat is generally safe for human consumption, the scandal spawned several testing and investigations. Apart from the legal implications of the said issue, numerous memes and jokes circulated on social media, clearly establishing the influence of the Internet to the perception of the public. The food fraud scandal damaged the reputation of many brands, especially those who were not able to handle the crisis in a timely manner.
Brand Reputation Management
In order to ensure that you are maintaining and protecting your brand’s reputation, you can implement initiatives and strategies that will not only protect but also improve and increase brand reputation.
• Public Relations
Every business must be armed with a great PR program and a PR expert. Good public relations can significantly manage and reduce negative sentiment while improving brand perception. Your PR team should be able to communicate the company’s activities and events such as those that show your support to the community.
• Crisis and conflict management
As discussed earlier, all companies can be subjected to a brand crisis without any notice. Although such incidents may be caused by the company’s own mistake, carelessness or disregard, most brand crisis problems are a result of external issues such as the Domino’s Pizza YouTube scandal. Timeliness is key in efficient and effective crisis and conflict management. A company should respond immediately, while practicing transparency, in order to prevent the issue from completely ruining the image of the brand.
• Monitor and manage your brand online
The Internet, particularly in social media channels, has become a platform for customers to announce disappointments and complaints about products and services. However, there are some complaints that are based on wrong information which can severely damage the reputation of your brand. It is, therefore, necessary to monitor and track mentions about your brand regularly in order to address inaccurate and defamatory statements.
• Collect feedback
Establish a community where customers can provide feedback and suggestions as well as air their complaints about your brand. This way, you will be able to quickly address such negative sentiments while collecting customer feedback which you can use to improve your products and services.