What is Brand Reputation?

Last Updated on November 16, 2023

what is brand reputation

Reputation is the invisible force that can either drive your business forward or hold it back. It is the difference between consumers trusting your company and purchasing from you, or not. In this article, we will cover:

  • What brand reputation means
  • The importance and benefits of brand reputation
  • Strategies to promote and protect a positive reputation
  • Examples of brand reputation mistakes

Brand Reputation, Defined

Brand reputation is the collective impression held by your customers, employees, and partners about your brand. It is the sum of all the interactions, experiences, and communications people have had with your business. All this comes together to affect how they perceive your business as a whole.

brand reputation defined

The Importance of Brand Reputation Management

In a world where customers amplify their voices online, a strong reputation is not just nice to have. It is essential to thrive in today’s market. Building a positive brand reputation is your most significant asset, but neglecting it could be your biggest risk.

importance of brand rep

If you aren’t actively taking steps to manage your reputation, your business could face consequences:

  • Loss of customer loyalty and trust
  • Reduced sales as existing and potential customers turn to other brands
  • Spread of negative feedback through online word of mouth
  • Lower employee morale and a higher turnover rate
  • Challenges in recruiting top talent, as these candidates will avoid companies with negative public images
  • Decrease in stock value for publicly traded companies
  • Investor distrust and withdrawal
  • Increased scrutiny from the media
  • Challenges building relationships with other businesses, vendors, and partners
  • Higher marketing costs to fix a damaged reputation versus maintaining a positive brand image from the beginning

Brand reputation is important for businesses of all sizes. Large companies with existing reputations should monitor them closely to avoid damage. Building a good reputation helps small businesses become established, grow, and find new opportunities. 

Benefits of Great Brand Reputation 

Brand reputation affects every single stakeholder at an organization, from customers and employees to business partners and investors. So, let’s discuss what having a good reputation can do for you.

online presence and seo

Online Presence & SEO

A strong reputation enhances online visibility and search engine rankings. When customers frequently search for a brand, share its content, and leave positive reviews, search engines notice.

This leads to better organic search results, which leads to more traffic to your website. As a result, you can expect an increased conversion rate, which further reinforces the brand’s reputation.

Social Media Following

In the digital era, a great reputation amplifies your social media presence and work as powerful social proof. This influences people’s perception and actions towards your brand.

Brands that users respect and admire find it easier to:

  • Engage with a broader audience
  • Create viral content
  • Generate a loyal online community

This social media following becomes an asset in itself, driving engagement and digital marketing success.

social media following

brand awareness

Brand Awareness

When people know a brand for their positive image, word of mouth spreads naturally, on and offline. This organic promotion is invaluable, as new customers learn about the brand through trusted sources. This brand awareness allows you to stand out in crowded markets.

Revenue & Growth

What comes to the minds of consumers when they think about your brand? Great reputation goes hand-in-hand with financial success. Customers make buying decisions based on trust.

As the primary source of revenue, what customers think about your brand matters. They want to do business with reputable brands. A positive image helps businesses break into new markets, fuelling growth.

revenue and growth

customer loyalty and advocacy

Customer Loyalty & Advocacy

Customers pay attention to your brand’s image with every interaction they have. It is important to foster trust with both new and previous buyers. Trust leads to an increase in customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Loyal customers not only make repeat purchases but also act as brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences with others.

 

 

Employee Attraction & Retention

Businesses place a lot of focus on the customer experience, but what about your employees? Employees are an extension of your brand’s image, so how they perceive it matters. Their thoughts about your brand can affect their work satisfaction and productivity.

Companies with excellent reputations tend to attract and retain top talent. Employees prefer to associate themselves with reputable brands. When they’re excited about the company they work for, employee morale increases along with productivity and innovation.

employee attraction and retention

business partnerships

Business Partnerships

A good reputation allows for effective partnership and collaboration. Like with customers and employees, building a relationship with other businesses (and the media) requires trust. Businesses, influencers, and industry leaders want to align with brands that have a positive online reputation.

Investment Opportunities

Reputation plays a massive role in the decision-making process for investors. Investors naturally gravitate towards companies with a great reputation. A positive image signifies effective management, market viability, and long-term growth potential.

For start-ups and established businesses, a good reputation can mean:

  • Better financing terms
  • Increased investor interest
  • More favorable valuations

investment opportunities

Brand Reputation Management Strategies

Branding is a powerful tool for businesses. Brands should never stop improving its reputation among stakeholders. These days, businesses need to have a unified online and offline presence to succeed.
How can companies and organizations improve their online reputation? Here are a few ideas to consider.

Strategy 1: Understand Your Customer

Conduct consumer research to understand what people think about your brand. Consider either creating or updating buyer personas

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research from your customer base. They can include information like:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies
  • Lifestyle
  • Background
  • Motivations
  • Concerns

Knowing your personas will help you cater to their needs and build trust, which is essential for a strong reputation.

understand your customer

Strategy 2: Run Marketing Campaigns

Marketing online is an effective way to communicate your message, whether you’re:

  • Rebranding
  • Launching a new brand
  • Reinforcing company values

Digital marketing channels like social advertising, Google Ads, and content marketing make it easier to target your ideal customers.

 

 

digital marketing campaign

Strategy 3: Engage in Social Responsibility 

Brands are not just businesses these days. Today’s consumers make purchasing decisions based on how closely a brand’s values align with their own. By engaging in social responsibility initiatives, brands can show their commitment to more than just profits.

Consider finding a charity or organization that supports a cause that aligns with your consumer base. Ideas can include:

  • Environmental sustainability
  • Community development
  • Social justice causes

This approach helps to build a positive public image and foster a sense of trust and loyalty with consumers. These efforts should be both genuine and integrated into the company’s core values. It is important to communicate these efforts to the public, showcasing your brand’s commitment to making a positive impact.

corporate social responsibility

Strategy 4: Monitor Your Brand Regularly

People constantly share opinions and information online, so regularly monitoring your brand’s online presence is essential. This way, you can respond quickly to any issues that arise.

Regular monitoring helps you:

  • Discover emerging trends
  • Learn about customer concerns
  • Understand your overall brand health
  • Respond to customer feedback swiftly
  • Manage crises before they escalate
  • Leverage positive sentiment to enhance your brand image further

Conducting a sentiment analysis or using social listening tools will help you monitor any negative comments about your brand. Google Alerts is a reputation management tool that allows you to track news mentions within Google search results.

monitor your brand

Strategy 5: Provide Excellent Customer Service

Providing exceptional customer service directly influences how customers perceive and interact with your brand. When done right, it can turn a neutral or even negative experience into a positive one. Whether in-person or online, use these tips to create a memorable, positive experience:

  • Show that you value customers’ time and business by quickly responding to inquiries or complaints
  • Have a well-trained customer support team who can empathize with customer issues
  • Anticipate your customer’s needs by offering solutions or products they might be interested in
  • Personalize the experience for each customer so they feel valued and understood
  • After resolving an issue, ask for follow-up feedback to demonstrate your commitment to improving the customer experience

customer service

Strategy 6: Be Proactive for Negative Reviews

Consumers rely on review sites when making purchasing decisions, so having positive online reviews is critical. However, negative reviews are inevitable at some point. Businesses need to address them head-on in a positive light when they do. To respond to negative reviews, use these tips:

  • Respond to the review promptly
  • Empathize and apologize when appropriate
  • Offer concrete solutions such as a refund or discount
  • For complex issues, take the conversation offline with a direct phone call or email
  • After addressing the issue, follow up with the customer to ensure they are satisfied
  • Use the feedback from negative reviews to improve your products or services

be proactive about negative reviews

Strategy 7: Launch Rebrand

For businesses struggling to connect with customers, consider a rebrand. This can signify to the public that your company is adapting, growing, and staying relevant. A rebrand could involve:

  • Updating your logo
  • Revising your brand message
  • Refreshing your website
  • Overhauling your entire visual identity and communication strategy

Ensure that the rebrand reflects a genuine improvement in your products, services, or company ethos. An effective rebrand can renew customer interest, attract new audiences, and enhance your overall brand reputation.

 

 

launch a rebrand

Brand Reputation Mistakes (with Examples)

Companies used to shape their brand reputation with ease using traditional advertising and public relations. However, it is much harder now to prevent damage without online reputation management.

Thanks to the rise of social media platforms, 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:

delete uber campaign

Uber

In 2017, Uber faced a significant brand reputation crisis with the #DeleteUber campaign. Uber was accused of attempting to profit from a taxi strike. The strike was in protest against President Trump’s controversial travel order.

The campaign generated more than 220,000 posts on Twitter, urging users to delete the app. People saw Uber’s response as insensitive during a politically charged moment. This campaign led to over 200,000 people deleting the Uber app.

This incident shows the power of social media in influencing public opinion and also the importance of social responsibility. Uber’s image suffered a significant setback, showing how quickly perceived company missteps can impact a brand’s reputation.

united airlines scandal

United Airlines

United Airlines faced a public relations nightmare in 2017. Security officers forcibly removed a passenger from an overbooked flight. Fellow passengers recorded the incident, and it spread widely on social media.

The video showed the passenger being dragged off the plane, appearing bloodied and disoriented. The incident sparked immediate widespread outrage from the public, and had lasting negative effects on the airline’s brand image.

This event served as a reminder of the importance of ethical decision-making in customer service. These decisions and actions have long-term effects on a brand’s public perception.

facebook and cambridge analytica scandal

Facebook & Cambridge Analytica

In a landmark breach of trust, the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted in 2018. This event fundamentally shook the public’s confidence in this social media platform.

Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, had accessed the data of up to 87 million Facebook users without consent. The firm reportedly used this data to sway public opinion in political campaigns, including the U.S. Presidential Election and the Brexit referendum. The scandal highlighted concerns about data privacy, consent, and the use of personal information.

Facebook faced scrutiny from regulators, lawmakers, and worldwide users. This led to a significant decrease in trust and damaged their public image. The incident highlighted the vulnerabilities in Facebook’s data security policies. It also raised broader questions about the responsibility of social media in politics, and the protection of data.

Responding to a Brand Public Relations Crisis

When your brand reputation takes a public relations hit, address the issue quickly. Have a plan outlined ahead of time to address the problem that is plaguing your brand. 

Addressing a crisis with stakeholders quickly is key, however bouncing back from a PR crisis is a process that takes time. The end goal is to rebuild your reputation. For more information, you can read our blog on business crisis management.

How to Take Control of Your Brand Reputation

Do not wait for an online faux pas to happen before engaging in online reputation management. Reputation damage can happen when you least expect it, but you can start taking preventative steps today. 

free online reputation consultation

Our expert reputation management team can help your brand get back on the path to success. We address negative or false reviews, news stories, articles, and other forms of content that can damage your reputation. Schedule a free consultation with us and learn more about how we can help you. 

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About Reputation911

We are a reputation management company that helps to make you Look Good Online.