A positive company reputation provides several essential benefits to your business, including increased customer loyalty, improved sales and a competitive advantage over your competitors. For these reasons, working towards a positive reputation for your company is paramount, so you should invest in branding and reputation management.
Since 81% of consumers today need to trust a brand before purchasing from one, companies must establish strong customer relationships. (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2019)
In the article below, we cover the following:
- What is brand reputation?
- Business reputation vs. company character
- Factors that influence company reputation
- How to manage brand reputation
- Branding and reputation best practices
If you need help with reputation branding, working with subject matter specialists like those from Rize Reviews is best. We help businesses establish a solid digital footprint while empowering customers to share their experiences, becoming your brand advocates.
What Is Brand Reputation?
Your business reputation refers to the collective perception and opinions of stakeholders, consumers and the general public regarding your company. As such, it is subjective and often changes depending on several factors. This subjective perception is based on a third-party’s view, meaning it is sometimes outside your direct control, but you can influence it.
Business Reputation vs. Company Character
Your company’s character is a different aspect of your business than your brand reputation. A company’s character represents your internal characteristics, including your views and perceptions about your business. It is how you do business whether or not someone is looking. Your company’s character is driven by your underlying business principles, beliefs and core values that encompass your company’s culture.
In contrast, your brand reputation consists of the general public’s perception, which may or may not accurately represent what you truly stand for. Sometimes your brand reputation aligns with your company’s character. However, when there are discrepancies between these two factors, brand reputation management becomes necessary to reinstate your company’s good reputation.
Several factors, like employee misconduct, negative media coverage and social media issues, can cast your company in a negative light, which may not always accurately represent your business character. You can agree that one employee’s poor service doesn’t reflect your company’s standards. For this reason, it is crucial to look into the various factors that contribute to a good reputation, stay on top of each and maintain a stellar brand reputation through efficient branding and reputation management.
Factors That Influence Your Brand Reputation
1. Quality of Products, Services and Pricing
“The quality of a company’s products and services directly affects customer satisfaction, which in turn impacts reputation branding,” said Tim Clarke.
“Quality of work and price can be used as guiding principles for any business,” Clarke said.
Quality of work refers to the level of excellence and value that your business can provide through your products and services. If you can consistently deliver high-quality work, this contributes to a positive reputation:
- Increased Customer Satisfaction: High-quality products and services boosts customer experience and can help establish a good reputation. Take note of potential improvements that can be made to your products and services when customers submit their reviews.
- Establishing Trust and Credibility: The consistent delivery of high-value products and services can set a positive reputation. In addition, your business will be perceived as a competent provider of solutions that solves people’s pain points.
Price alone, on the other hand, may not be the sole determinant of reputation branding. However, it has a significant influence on how the public perceives your brand in several ways:
- Perceived Quality: Premium-priced products and services are often perceived as high-quality offerings. Even though this factor may not be an accurate perception, coupled with brand reputation management, achieving that balance between price and quality can push people to perceive your offerings as superior to your competitors.
- Value for Money: Consumers often compare the value they get to the price they pay. If you price your offerings reasonably, people may see you as a business that gives a good deal for money. Making this strategic price adjustment can help you manage brand reputation.
- Market Positioning: How you price your products and services influences your position in the market. For instance, companies that charge higher rates are often associated with luxury, exclusivity and superior features. On the other hand, if you offer reasonable prices coupled with quality products, you establish a reputation for cost leadership and affordability. One way to better manage brand reputation is to establish your market position and review your pricing strategy.
2. Search Engine Results
The search engine results page (SERPs) can impact your branding and reputation management efforts and shape the customer’s perception of your business. Users can form first impressions from the initial information from the search results. Online reputation management services can help mitigate negative brand mentions.
Many consumers today turn to major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube and Amazon, and see them as reliable sources of information about different brands. For this reason, it is vital to have a brand reputation management strategy and a review response management plan in place.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy
Related to the previous factor is SEO, which helps to align your company’s reputation with the core keywords you’re ranking for. A strong business reputation can indirectly influence your search rankings. It can help in several ways:
- Increased number of backlinks and brand mentions.
- More website traffic from links to your site.
- Increased social media engagement.
These elements can help to signal to search engines that your site’s content is high-quality, useful and valuable. It also serves as proof of your brand authority. Since 87% of consumers search for products online (Retaildive, 2018), you should make an effort to ensure that your products and services show up in the SERPs for your targeted keywords. Implementing key SEO elements helps you improve online reputation:
- Have an active social media presence.
- Generate more backlinks from more trusted sources.
- Make sure your website is SEO optimized.
- Produce more authoritative and click-worthy content.
It would be best if you coupled your SEO efforts with effective review monitoring and response. It is best to work with reliable online reputation management services. These specialists can equip your enterprise with the latest tools to monitor and manage brand mentions, reviews and comments.
4. Online Reviews and Star Ratings
The reviews and star ratings your business receives impact your overall company reputation and sales. Spiegel Research reports that the likelihood that customers will make a purchase increases as your star ratings reach 4.2 to 4.5 stars.
The interesting part of this study concerns the negative reviews, which show that 82% of consumers are actively looking for them. Companies that receive negative reviews are seen as authentic, and it also helps establish trust. It can be observed that consumers understand that there are no perfect companies. However, those who can better manage negative reviews get the nod from customers. Reputation management service providers can help your business formulate an effective review response management strategy to help keep you on top of reviews and ratings.
5. Media Coverage
Media coverage includes traditional media and advertising such as radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. You can also have podcasts, blogs, news releases, industry publications and other media formats where your team members get featured and interviewed. Positive media coverage is an excellent way to add authority to your company’s reputation.
These are opportunities to bring out your brand voice and demonstrate your thought leadership, improve online reputation, establish consumer confidence and generate more leads. Note that some media outlets post no-follow links, but that doesn’t discount the fact that backlinks from these portals can drive more high-value traffic.
If your business was fortunate enough to get positive press and exposure, you could use this opportunity to spread the word. It boosts awareness of the coverage, which helps the media outlet, and it also helps your business since it can potentially win leads.
According to the Nielsen Trust in Advertising Report, 83% of consumers value recommendations from others, including those from media coverage and consumer opinions. This means the positive press is a considerable influence on word-of-mouth recommendations.
6. Social Media
Studies show that 77% of consumers prefer to shop from brands they already follow on social media (Sprout Social, 2019). Another critical factor that contributes to your brand’s reputation is your activity on social media.
Expect the impact of social media efforts to be shorter than SERPs’ impact. Nevertheless, over 40% of consumers use social media portals to research brands and products they’re interested in (GlobalWebIndex, 2020). This represents a tremendous opportunity for brands to interact directly with their target audience and build their reputation.
Your goal should be to increase brand awareness and engagement while building a loyal customer base. As part of your strategy, you can generate positive brand mentions and user-generated content on social media. Besides creating a solid and consistent presence, brands should seek to establish their thought leadership in their industry. You can further establish your brand reputation by prioritizing transparency, responsiveness and authenticity.
How To Manage Brand Reputation
Working with an established reputation management service provider is crucial if you want to maintain a stellar company reputation. Seasoned reputation specialists, like those from Rize Reviews, can equip your business with the latest tools and strategies to help keep you on top of the factors contributing to your brand reputation.
Your team can also use online brand reputation management metrics such as customer loyalty index, repeat purchase rates and lifetime value. Tim Clarke, Senior Reputation Manager at Rize Reviews, recommends using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to determine customer loyalty and brand growth. It’s a simple, standardized, customer-centric, benchmarking and actionable metric that gives you predictive insights into how customers perceive your brand. Following certain online brand reputation management best practices can help you make the most of NPS.
In addition, our Rize Reviews team can also help you stay on top of the various factors that influence your brand’s reputation.
Work With a Seasoned Brand Reputation Agency
Rize Reviews is an established reputation management company that has helped hundreds of businesses manage their brand reputation. Our team equips you with the latest tools and best practices to monitor all the factors contributing to your company’s reputation. Contact us today to learn how our services can help grow your business.