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Brand Reputation Management 101

Jillian Robinson
June 30, 2023
Last Updated On
brand reputation management blog header

In today's digitally-driven world, where information travels at rapid speed, and opinions are formed in an instant, managing brand reputation has become of utmost importance for brands.

Brand reputation encompasses how a company or organization is perceived and trusted by its target audience and stakeholders and can significantly impact its success or failure. In this blog, you’ll learn why it's essential for brands to proactively monitor and safeguard their reputation to thrive in a highly competitive and fast-moving marketplace.

What Is Brand Reputation? 

Brand reputation results from the strategic activities and efforts undertaken — or not undertaken — by a company or organization to shape its public image. It involves multiple aspects, including brand identity, messaging, communication, experiences and associations. The goal of brand management is to create a strong and favorable identity that resonates with the target market and to build a loyal customer base.

Much of a brand’s reputation is rooted in trust and credibility, which is built by consistently delivering on their promises, maintaining ethical business practices and providing high-quality products or services. As such, a positive brand reputation signifies that it is highly regarded, trusted and respected by its customers, employees, investors and the general public. A negative brand reputation, on the other hand, reflects poorly and can have detrimental effects on its success. It can stem from various factors, including poor product or service quality, ethical lapses or scandals and lack of transparency or authenticity.

Brand reputation management requires a proactive and ongoing approach, which includes monitoring online mentions, engaging with customers, promptly addressing issues and consistently delivering on brand promises. By focusing on building and maintaining a positive reputation and carefully navigating issues that arise, brands can build a strong and resilient image that fosters trust, loyalty and long-term success.

The Importance of Brand Reputation

Brand reputation is a critical factor that can make or break a company's success. Reputation encompasses the perceptions, beliefs, and emotions that consumers associate with a business. It serves as a powerful asset that not only influences customer trust and loyalty but also secures a competitive advantage in the market. A solid brand reputation acts as a shield during challenging times, helping businesses navigate crises and setbacks. Additionally, it plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top talent, fostering a positive work environment. 

Customer Trust and Loyalty: A strong brand reputation builds trust among customers. When customers trust a brand, they are more likely to become loyal advocates and repeat customers. Positive word-of-mouth generated by a strong reputation can significantly impact growth and profitability.

Competitive Advantage: A positive brand reputation gives a competitive edge in the market. When consumers positively perceive a brand, they are more likely to choose it over competitors. As such, a strong reputation can help differentiate from competitors and attract new customers.

Business Resilience: Brands with a solid reputation are better equipped to weather crises and setbacks. A positive image serves as a cushion during challenging times, as customers and stakeholders are more trusting, forgiving and understanding, thus helping the brand maintain credibility and bounce back from obstacles.

Employee Attraction and Retention: Employees are more likely to be attracted to and stay loyal to a company with a strong brand reputation. A positive work environment and image contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement.

How To Craft a Brand Reputation Strategy 

When formulating a brand reputation strategy, marketers can follow the following steps. However, it is crucial to constantly consider the brand's core values and target audience, as they should serve as the foundation and guide for all decision-making processes.

1. Define Brand Values and Identity:

  • Clearly define the brand's mission, vision and core values.
  • Identify the unique selling proposition and positioning in the market.
  • Develop a strong brand identity that resonates with the target audience.

2. Conduct Brand Perception Research:

  • Gather insights through market research and surveys to understand how the brand is currently perceived.
  • Identify the brand's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in terms of reputation.
  • Analyze customer feedback, reviews and social media conversations to gain a deeper understanding of the brand's reputation.

3. Set Reputation Goals:

  • Define clear and measurable goals related to brand reputation, such as improving customer trust, increasing positive sentiment or addressing specific reputation issues.
  • Ensure that the reputation goals align with the overall business objectives and values.

4. Develop a Communication Strategy:

  • Craft a consistent brand message and narrative that aligns with your values and resonates with the target audience.
  • Define key communication channels and platforms to reach the target audience effectively.
  • Develop a content strategy that delivers valuable and engaging content to build and maintain a positive brand reputation.

5. Monitor Brand Perception:

  • Implement social listening trend tools and processes to monitor mentions, sentiment and conversations across various online and offline channels.
  • Actively listen to customer feedback, reviews and social media comments to identify reputation issues and opportunities.

6. Engage With Stakeholders:

  • Foster positive relationships with customers, employees, influencers and other stakeholders through meaningful engagement.
  • Encourage and respond to customer feedback, reviews and social media comments to show appreciation and address concerns.
  • Collaborate with influencers and brand advocates to amplify positive brand messaging and reputation.

7. Continual Evaluation and Improvement:

  • Regularly assess the effectiveness of reputation strategies and tactics.
  • Measure key metrics such as customer sentiment, brand trust and brand loyalty.
  • Incorporate feedback and insights into refining and improving the brand reputation strategy.

How To Measure Brand Reputation

Measuring brand reputation involves assessing various key indicators and metrics that provide insights into how the brand is perceived and trusted. Here are some approaches that marketers can leverage to measure their brand reputation:

Surveys and Market Research

  • Conduct brand perception surveys to gather feedback and measure reputation metrics such as brand awareness, perception, customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Utilize market research techniques to understand how the brand is positioned relative to competitors and evaluate its reputation in the marketplace.

Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis

  • Use social listening to monitor social media conversations, mentions and utilize sentiment analysis tools to gauge public perception of the brand.
  • Analyze the volume, tone and sentiment of social media mentions to identify trends and patterns related to brand reputation.

Online Reviews and Ratings

  • Assess online reviews and ratings across platforms like Google, Yelp and industry-specific review sites.
  • Track the overall rating, sentiment and specific comments related to the brand to understand customer perception and satisfaction.

Customer Feedback and Surveys

  • Capture and analyze customer feedback through direct channels such as customer support interactions, feedback forms and post-purchase surveys.
  • Measure customer satisfaction, likelihood to recommend and perception of the brand's reputation based on customer feedback.

Brand Metrics and KPIs

  • Define and track key brand reputation metrics and KPIs aligned with specific goals, such as brand trust, brand loyalty, customer retention rates and customer lifetime value.
  • Utilize brand tracking studies to measure changes in brand perception and reputation over time.

Share of Voice

  • Use share of voice to monitor media coverage — both traditional and digital — to assess how the brand is portrayed in news articles, press releases and other media sources.
  • Analyze the tone, reach and sentiment of media coverage to understand the impact on brand reputation.

Employee Engagement and Internal Surveys

  • Evaluate employee satisfaction and engagement through internal surveys to gauge their perception of the brand.
  • Assess employee advocacy and alignment with values as indicators of a positive brand reputation.

Competitive Analysis

  • Conduct competitive benchmarking to compare the brand's reputation against its competitors.
  • Analyze competitor positioning, customer sentiment and reputation metrics to gain insights into relative brand reputation.

5 Tips for Brand Reputation and Crisis Management 

There’s an old adage, ‘hope for the best but prepare for the worse’ — any reputable brand will have a social media response plan in place to employ in an emergency. The communication strategy should be revisited on a quarterly or yearly basis to account for any new social channels they’ve added to their content mix, relevant stakeholders and anything else that’s changed. 

While a great plan will help inform a brand in an emergency or crisis, these are great tips to keep in mind when executing your plan. 

1. Establish a Crisis Management Team

Again, this should be a part of your response plan, but you must establish a crisis management team to manage all parts of your social media response plan. This might include a social coordinator, copywriter and any other relevant stakeholders.

2. Collect Facts and Data  

This will likely be a part of your social media response plan, but brands should collect all the facts and data pertaining to the event or crisis. This will help inform your response and allow you to understand where you were at fault and how you can avoid similar events in the future, and also what impact it had on your social KPIs.

3. Be Honest  

Brands should be honest with their audience to an extent that makes sense. Hiding from your mistake or misstep — especially in today’s plugged-in digital world — can hurt your reputation more than admitting you were at fault for something. 

4. Explain What You’ve Learned 

When crafting a response for your audience, it’s important to explain what you’ve learned and where you went wrong. Even if this is a mistake that happened based on an influencer or relationship your brand currently holds or held in the past, it will likely not serve your reputation well to try to deflect or place blame on others. Communicate what you’ve learned so your audience knows you’re tuned in and committed to learning and growing. 

5. Communicate How You’ll Change 

After you explain what you’ve learned, it’s important to tell your audience what steps you’ll take to change your actions in the future. Perhaps this is a more detailed vetting of partnerships, better attention to writing and approval processes or any other steps you’re taking to prevent future missteps.  

How To Improve Brand Reputation

Depending on what their focus is, brands who want to improve their reputation should find a unique solution that works for them — that’s to say, there is no one perfect solution. However, there are a few tips brands can employ on their way to improve brand reputation. 

Hire a Community Manager 

A Community Manager tool lets you tap into what your audience says about you across all social channels but also lets you respond to them in real time so you can streamline your communication process and ensure you don’t miss any important comments that could impact your brand’s reputation — positively or negatively. 

Continuously Measure Influencer ROI 

Measuring influencer and creator ROI can help brands determine which partnerships are helping — or hurting — their brand the most. Brands can see how influencers contribute to engagement and follower growth, produce reports and discover which UGC resonates best with your existing audience. This informs your strategy and gives brands a window to potential partnerships.

Monitor Earned Media Value 

Earned media value (EMV) is community-created media that mentions your brand — monitoring your EMV can help determine the best opportunity for influencer relationships, where the biggest ROI opportunities lie and more. It also helps you evaluate existing influencer relationships to determine what works and what needs reconfiguring or re-strategizing.  

Manage Your Reputation on Social With Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson’s Community Manager lets you stay on top of community interactions and what your audience says about your brand. Marketers can easily and quickly monitor brand mentions and reply to them without logging in to separate native channels. What’s more, Dash Hudson’s Influencer Marketing Measurement feature lets brands quickly analyze influencer partnerships and determine how they impact overall social goals and success.

FAQs

Why is brand reputation important? 

Brand reputation is important because it impacts how your audience — and potential audience — sees your brand and, ultimately, your bottom line. Even if marketers notice negative sentiment and don’t see an impact on their bottom line yet, this can be an indication that brands need to work on brand awareness, their product, their service or a myriad of other things — of course, this depends on what the overwhelming, popular audience sentiment is. 

How to protect brand reputation on social? 

While users are inevitably going to discuss your brand on social, brands can take a few steps to protect their occupation. From engaging in meaningful conversations and replying to their community to monitoring both qualitative KPIs (like social listening and sentiment analysis) to quantitative KPIs, brands can be proactive in determining potential pitfalls and taking the right course of action to refine their strategy and protect their brand. 

How to build brand reputation? 

Brands can build their reputation by staying active on social media, producing entertaining content, engaging in meaningful conversation with their community, and practicing social media SEO to increase their chance of being discovered on various social channels.

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