Businesses in the digital era have to overcome all sorts of challenges to get ahead of their competitors. In addition to providing high quality products and using competitive pricing strategies, each brand needs to work to build up its reputation.
Building up and maintaining a good reputation is essential, as it contributes towards the brand’s long-term success. Organizations with a strong reputation typically experience less difficulty bouncing back after a difficult period. This is thanks to the loyalty of their customer base, and the trust they have built up among the general public.
If you recently started your own brand, or are attempting to recover following a PR mishap, you will be glad to learn that there are numerous ways to improve your brand reputation. Let’s look at 11 such ways.
1. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
A significant portion of a brand’s reputation depends on how well they connect with their target audience or customers on social media. This makes these platforms incredibly important for brand managers who are managing the long term reputation of their brand or organization.
Each social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn is useful for reaching out to your audience in a different way. For example, Facebook is useful for writing public posts and providing updates, while Instagram is great for conveying a particular message through images.
Many brands use a dedicated social media manager from a San Diego marketing agency to handle their social media accounts. These managers can convey the brand philosophy or values with each post they create. Such posts also humanize a brand and remind customers that the organization consists of actual human beings who wish to serve them to the best of their ability.
2. Reach Out to Customers
Any company can improve their brand reputation simply by living up to customer expectations, or better yet, exceeding them. Many organizations strive to do this by providing quality products and services. However, reaching out to customers and attempting to address their concerns can also go a long way in improving your reputation.
There are many ways to do this, such as social media posts, emails, or with personalized messages. Many organizations take the time to thank their customers for their past purchases whenever they can. This acknowledgement reminds them they are valued, and helps encourage loyalty.
3. Address Controversies Quickly
Another important way to improve your reputation is to address any reputation-damaging incidents quickly. It’s not uncommon for brands to experience one or two negative incidents every few years. This may be related to a poor customer experience or the mishandling of a particular situation.
You can’t undo the past, however, you can reach out to customers and assure them you are addressing the situation appropriately and that it won’t happen again in the future. Doing this quickly is important, as failing to address a controversy as soon as it occurs gives way for negative momentum to build up against your brand.
4. Listen to Feedback
Brands should also be receptive towards customer feedback. This feedback can help you fine-tune your approach to serving customers, and improve the quality of services you provide. Customers who see their suggestions being implemented are likely to view your brand more positively and use your products or services more frequently.
If you aren’t already receiving feedback from your customer base, you should actively ask them for it. Many large companies offer their customers discount codes or free items for answering questionnaires and giving valuable feedback. You should try a similar approach or other methods to encourage customer feedback.
5. Give Back
Brands can also improve their reputation by increasing customer engagement in different ways. Some organizations hold contests on their social media pages to build brand awareness. However, this approach can also help improve your brand reputation.
You can give away free items or prizes to customers in these contests, and ask them to share an appreciation post on their social media. This tends to be a win-win, as some of your customers get to receive free items, while also helping your brand be viewed more favorably.
6. Donate to Social Causes
It’s not uncommon for organizations to donate to certain social causes. These could be charities, special drives, or environmental organizations whose philosophy aligns with your brand’s.
Brands are often viewed as extensions of companies that exist only to churn out an endless number of products and create a profit. Donating to social causes reminds others that you follow certain values, and wish to contribute towards the betterment of not just your customer base, but also the rest of society.
You can donate to any number of charities. However, it is important to choose one that aligns with your values, as it will help the donation seem more fitting.
7. Practice Transparency
In the past, many organizations were incredibly discreet about their manufacturing techniques and sales practices. However, in the present day, these organizations are striving to be more transparent. This is because transparency is associated with honesty, which helps boost your reputation.
Customers assume that a transparent brand will have nothing to hide, and that they are therefore trustworthy. Transparency is especially important in the digital era as individuals can look up your brand’s practices online. So, it is better to make your practices clear and address any concerns yourself before they are revealed by someone with a less charitable interpretation.
In addition to this, transparency can help show off some of your practices. For example, many restaurants put up public videos that demonstrate their ingredients are sourced ethically, and that all their workers are paid a fair wage.
8. Focus on Workforce Diversity
Donating to social causes can certainly help your brand reputation. However, another way to demonstrate your commitment to social causes is to hire a more diverse workforce. It’s not uncommon for organizations to hire employees who are all too similar in background and views.
This may be due to an unconscious bias towards certain groups or a deliberate push to add similar workers to your workforce due to familiarity. However, hiring a more diverse workforce can help you in other ways such as introducing more out-of-the-box thinking and innovation.
When done right, this diversity can also help improve your reputation. Hiring employees from underprivileged backgrounds or marginalized communities shows you customers you care about the communities they reside in. These hiring practices can also boost your reputation more than a single charity donation would. This is because hiring workers is seen as a longstanding commitment rather than a one-time gesture.
9. Post Reviews
If customers have shown their appreciation for your brand with a review, you should share it publicly. Brands can highlight reviews that show them positively. This could be reviews in which a customer describes a positive interaction with your staff, or a great experience using your products or services.
Sharing these reviews publicly alerts others to your brand’s positive traits, and helps you appear more trustworthy. The views of other customers can be incredibly important in shaping your reputation in the digital era, so you should focus on highlighting the positive ones.
10. Use Influencers
As mentioned above, reviews can improve your brand reputation significantly. However, if you are a new brand that has yet to receive positive reviews, you can turn to influencers for help. Influencers are social media users with a large number of dedicated followers.
It’s not uncommon for companies or restaurants to donate products to these influencers to review. With the right donation or incentive, these influencers will promote your products and speak highly of your brand. This positive message will then be seen by their followers, which can boost your overall reputation.
11. Deliver on Promises
Few things help improve your reputation more than delivering on promises. If you agreed to donate a percentage of your profits to a particular charity, you should follow through with it and let your customer base know.
Delivering on your promises regularly helps build trust, and assures customers that they can count on you to follow through. In the future, the public will assume you will live up to your word, and be more likely to use your products or services.
As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to improve your brand’s reputation. If you have established your brand relatively recently, you should strive to implement as many of these strategies as possible.
Improving your reputation can be a slow process. However, once you do manage to establish a positive reputation, you can benefit from it for many years to come. If you need assistance with managing your brand reputation, you should try getting in touch with an agency for digital marketing. San Diego is home to many companies that offer brand reputation improvement services.