Brands have good reason to believe that their interactions with consumers are purely transactional. But that couldn’t be further from the truth as 5 billion people, or 63.1 percent of the global population, are internet users (Statista, April 2022). And in an internet-driven terrain, consumers have the luxury to gain or contribute information about brands that drive purchase decisions. For entrepreneurs, this means exposure to risks and opportunities alike.
Hence, brand reputation management is not an alternate route you can take but the only way to success. But what is brand reputation management?
What Is Brand Reputation Management?
Brand reputation management is the practice of monitoring and shaping how the public perceives your brand. It’s a custom that dates back to the early days of public relations when word-of-mouth and media exposure were the main avenues for brands to get in front of consumers.
Nowadays, the best reputation management services center on a brand’s digital reputation or online presence. Full-scale online brand monitoring and management allows you to remain in the saddle of your brand’s narrative on crucial channels like search engines, social media and review sites.
Why Online Reputation Management Is Important
A study from Google and Ipsos found 85 percent of consumers claim that brand and product information, including photos, found online are critical to driving their purchase decisions. While you can undertake your brand reputation in-house, working with online reputation management companies can guarantee you to:
- Have a wider market reach. Google and Ipsos report four out of five consumers to use search engines to learn more about brands. Reputation branding ensures you appear in a good light on channels where potential consumers are present.
- Reveal your brand and competitors’ standing. A solid reputation management plan involves social listening, allowing you to see your and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Social listening should also cover your products and services.
- Establish your brand as a legitimate business. Before visiting a shop location, 83 percent of U.S. consumers search online. Investing in the best reputation management services empowers you to secure such a valuable market if you have a physical store.
- Recruit the best talents. Glassdoor found 92 percent of professionals would consider shifting careers only to work for a reputable company. Reputation branding translates to employer branding, so your talent acquisition capabilities benefit.
Thus, to sum up why online reputation management is important: Brand reputation management is the path to building up brand awareness that leads to loyalty.
How To Devise a Brand Reputation Management Strategy
Before anything else, keep in mind that a brand reputation management strategy is not a one-and-done but an ongoing process. Here are steps to revamping your digital reputation:
#1 Set a Meeting With Key Personnel
If you have a brand reputation manager onboard, let them spearhead your next course of action, starting with a meeting. However, if you don’t have an internal brand expert, you should consider reaching out to online reputation management companies early on. Doing so will spare you from the trial-and-error phase as you begin working on your reputation management strategy.
Other than a brand reputation manager, you want to involve every company stakeholder, including your department managers from public relations (PR) to sales, production and customer support. While some may think some departments can bow out from the meeting, your brand reputation is influenced by each department, one way or another. It takes a team to kick off a game-changing reputation management plan.
#2 Conduct a Brand Reputation Audit and Research
As with any strategy, it should be grounded on data, but unlike other research where you can focus on a few sources, brand monitoring and management research are bound to be extensive. While social media is a gold mine for getting a sense of your standing, consumers have numerous avenues where they can leave feedback, and you shouldn’t discount any of them.
Scour the internet, search engines, review sites and social media to uncover what people are saying about your brand. Take note of where such conversations usually happen and see that you’ve claimed every business listing. To further guide your future strategic goals, search keywords relevant to your brand and market. Then compile a list of brand reputation risks and opportunities as you analyze the data.
#3 Establish a Brand and Reputation Management Plan
The reputation audit and research should give you an insightful overview of your brand standing. So from there, the brand reputation manager can outline your company’s course of action. In this phase, you would designate tasks such as continuous brand monitoring and routine review responses. You also want to consider the major platforms you noted from your audit.
However, if you lack review data to work on, then review generation must be your priority. After enlisting Rize Review’s services, a U.S. telecommunication company with 172 reviews and an average of 2 out of 5 stars witnessed dramatic reputational improvement. Our brand and reputation management team launched fully automated, incentivized email and text campaigns to its customer base.
The result: Our client secured 856 new reviews with an average 4.6 star rating in just four months. Beyond building its score and credibility in the market, the review data gave the company actionable insights.
#4 Come Prepared With a Crisis Response Plan
In the wake of an unexpected event, a crisis plan lays out your course of action to protect your brand and prevent further reputational harm. While it’s hard to be fully prepared for the unexpected, having a plan can make a huge difference. Many businesses, however, partner with online reputation management companies for this aspect, allowing them to leave critical matters to experts.
Crises can come in different forms, including product issues, defamatory reviews, employee errors, platform outages or global tragedies. In the list of risks from your audit, you should be able to determine recurring issues or themes and put a plan in place to protect your brand. So, for instance, you can compose an email template in case of a service outage, or you could have your finance team set up a fund for emergency donations.
#5 Identify Current Opportunities for Reputation Branding
The best reputation management services are proactive and on the lookout for opportunities to advance one’s reputation. Similarly, from your audit, recurring positive themes are excellent opportunities for your brand. If you have a specific product or service that’s been getting ringing endorsements online, take those feedback and incorporate them into your social media campaigns.
Lastly, revisit if you have the capacity to take on all the work internally. For a substantial change to happen in your brand reputation, you need a dedicated team to assume responsibility. This means investing time and effort to master an unfamiliar business aspect. But if you find that you need help managing your brand or your clients, take it as an opportunity to work with experts from online reputation management companies like Rize Reviews.
Rize Reviews: Offering One of the Best Reputation Management Services
Rize Reviews is a full-service brand and reputation management company catering to clients across industries. Our team is committed to refining your digital reputation, resulting in shorter sales cycles, better talent acquisition capabilities and a reputable brand that customers will come back to again and again.
Our team employs customizable software for each of our clients — see it in action!