What is Brand Reputation?

What is Brand Reputation

This post was most recently updated on April 16, 2023

Brand reputation refers to how others view a particular individual or company.  A favorable brand reputation means consumers trust you and your company and feel good about purchasing your goods or services.  

If you or your company has an unfavorable brand reputation consumers will begin to be hesitant about buying your products and services or even worse being associated with you as a brand ambassador.

Brand Reputation, Defined

Brand reputation is one of the most crucial elements of success for any company or organization. In this post, you will learn the importance of brand recognition among consumers and company stakeholders, strategies for improving brand reputation, and some examples of not-so-great reputations.

This article will cover the 7 best brand reputation management strategies and benefits to building and protecting your brand.

The Undeniable Importance of Brand Reputation Management

Brand reputation management is critical to the success and outlook of a brand. If reputation is jeopardized in a competitive field, you may lose business to business competitors. 

Brand reputation is essential for businesses regardless of the size or how well-established they are in the market. Building a reputation among your stakeholders can take time and effort. Large, established businesses will want to maintain or protect their reputation. For small businesses that are still growing, building a brand reputation means becoming more established in an industry. For larger companies, consistent monitoring of your reputation will be important for the success of your business.

Benefits of Great Brand Reputation 

There are so many ways brands can reap the rewards of an excellent brand reputation management: 

  • Increase sales
  • Improve organization morale
  • Improve public relations
  • Build loyalty
  • Increase referrals
  • Increase follow-up purchases
  • Build a social media following
  • Increase website traffic

The level of reputation a brand brings has far-reaching implications for a business, and ultimately, they are tied into an organization’s performance, measured in their bottom line.

Reputation & Brand Stakeholders:

You may not think it, but brand reputation management is important to all stakeholders – not just your customers. The truth is, reputation has far-reaching effects that affect every stakeholder in an organization. Here’s how brand reputation affects each type of stakeholder. 

How do consumers see your presence online

What do consumers think when they associate with your brand? Revenue and reputation are tied together, and as the primary source of revenue, what consumers think of your brand matters. An excellent brand reputation among consumers is essential for the financial longevity of your business.

How do employees see your company

What do employees think about a company? While employees are an extension of brand perception, their thoughts about the brand can affect their work satisfaction and productivity. 

How do business partners view your brand 

Whether a vendor, association, blogger, or influencer, building a reputation with business partners has its benefits. When partnering with other organizations, a positive online reputation makes it easier to partner with other businesses, which improves an organization’s performance.

How do board of directors evaluate your business

Board members know when a brand’s reputation suffers, so does company performance. The Board of directors will take a top-down approach to manage a brand to maintain its reputation – everything from hiring a CEO to developing a governance structure for the organization. 

What do investors look for in your company

Reputation can play a massive role in the decision-making for investors to invest in a company. Building and monitoring brand reputation can go a long way in improving investor relations. 

Brand Reputation Strategies

Branding is such a powerful tool for businesses, and because of this, a brand should never stop improving its reputation among stakeholders. These days, brands need to have a unified online and offline presence to succeed in business. 

How can companies and organizations improve their online reputation? Here are a few ideas to consider.

Strategy 1: Understand Your Customer

Do some consumer research about what they think of your brand. Consider creating or updating buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research from your customer base. Knowing your personas will help you understand their preferences and pain points, which can help build a positive brand reputation.

Strategy 2: Run Marketing Campaigns

Whether you’re rebranding, launching a new brand, or looking to reinforce your company’s values, marketing, particularly online, is an effective way to get your message across. With online marketing channels like social advertising, Google ads, and content marketing, it’s easier to target your market.

Strategy 3: Engage in Social Responsibility 

Launching a social responsibility campaign will help improve your reputation. Giving back to communities and supporting social causes is an excellent way for a company to build its reputation among consumers. Consider finding a charity or organization to support a cause that aligns with your consumer base.

Strategy 4: Monitor Your Brand Regularly

As part of brand reputation management, monitoring is an important piece of the reputation management process. Consider monitoring your brand online to respond to any issues quickly. Use tools to monitor your brand. Social listening tools will help monitor negative comments about your brand on social media. Google Alerts is a tool that allows you to track news mentions within Google search results.

Strategy 5: Provide Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is the perfect opportunity to right the ship by turning a negative experience into a positive one. Having a well-trained customer support team that reflects your company’s core values will help you stand out from competitors.  

Strategy 6: Be Proactive for Negative Reviews

Many consumers use social media sites, apps, and websites to research the best product or service that allows customers to review a company in the digital age. Negative reviews may occur, and businesses need to address them head-on in a positive light when they do. Respond to negative online reviews quickly and promptly. 

Strategy 7: Launch Rebrand

For businesses struggling to connect with customers, consider a rebrand. Instead of losing credibility with your old brand, an updated aesthetic and internal alignment of company values can help you rebuild and manage your brand reputation.

Brand Reputation Mistakes (with Examples)

With brand reputation management, you can clean up any mistakes and blunders. While companies used to shape their brand reputation with ease using traditional advertising and public relations, it is much harder to keep others from damaging your brand without online reputation management in today’s world. 

Thanks to social media’s rise, companies find that one mistake will destroy their brand in seconds. Here are just three examples of brands that took a hit because of social media:

Example 1: Kenneth Cole, Fashion Designer

Cole tweeted about the 2011 Egyptian riots in an attempt to promote his new line and came under fire for insensitivity:

Kenneth Cole Tweets - Brand Reputation

The tweet was removed, and a lengthy apology was posted on Facebook, but that wasn’t enough to fix Kenneth Cole’s brand reputation. A spoof Twitter account @KennethColePR and a #KennethColeTweeting hashtag forever links the brand to the incident.

Example 2: Domino’s, Pizza Chain

Domino's Pizza YouTube Videos - Brand Reputation

A group of bored Domino’s employees uploaded to Youtube a series of videos in which they played with food ingredients they claimed were going into meals ordered by customers. The videos went viral, quickly picking up more than one million views, and the employees involved were faced with felony charges. Executives hoped the controversy would die down and did little to manage the brand and communicate what steps Domino’s was taking to rectify the matter over Twitter. That led followers to question whether Domino’s was doing anything, furthering consumer distrust and a ruined brand reputation.

Example 3: Marvin Austin, UNC Football Player

Austin tweeted a photo of a receipt from the Cheesecake Factory in Washington, DC, where he had racked up a $143 bill.

Marvin Austin Cheesecake Factory Receipt - Brand Reputation

When members of the local media questioned why he was in Washington and how he could pay for the trip, UNC officials declined to comment. Their silence spurred an NCAA investigation that uncovered 9 NCAA violations, including evidence of improper benefits being provided by agents, academic fraud, and a first-ever “failure to monitor social media” charge against the University of North Carolina’s athletic department. The controversy led to player suspensions, pink slips for the head coach and associated head coach, a resignation from the athletic director, and a one-year ban on postseason play.

The damage could have been minimized if the organizations had practiced strategic brand reputation management. Instead, each organization allowed damaging content about itself to be posted online and did not move quickly enough to control the conversation and minimize the damage.

As a result, a lack of brand reputation management led the businesses and individuals above to take a hit on their reputation. Kenneth Cole’s customers viewed the brand as insensitive; pizza consumers viewed Domino’s as a brand that allowed its employees to violate health codes. High school football players viewed UNC’s football brand as a poorly run program.

Responding to a Brand Public Relations Crisis

When your brand reputation takes a public relations hit, you will want to address the issue. Have a plan outlined to address the problem that is plaguing your brand. While you typically want to address a crisis quickly with stakeholders, coming back from a public relations crisis is a process that takes time, with the end goal of rebuilding reputation. For more, you can read our blog on business crisis management.

How to Take Control of Your Brand Reputation

You should not wait for your company to commit a social media faux pas before engaging in online reputation management. Using social media, message boards, and online review sites, your customers and employees might already be damaging your brand reputation. 

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