All sorts of bad can happen if you don’t manage your brand reputation properly. Negative publicity, one-star ratings, and silent phones lead sales in the same direction. But you can get things back on track by getting your brand reputation management process up to snuff.
In this article, we’ll lay out the signs that you need a better brand management strategy. Then, we’ll inspire you with examples of companies that sent their tanked brand reputations soaring.
Brand reputation management is the process of improving the perception of a brand’s value, trustworthiness, and overall public sentiment with the goal of increasing market share.
Table of Contents
Why is brand reputation management important?
How do you measure brand reputation?
With hundreds of review sites and billions of social media users, you need a way to measure your brand reputation.We’ve included some pointers below to get you started. But be sure to check out our complete guide to measuring brand reputation.
- Set up Google alerts to receive notice of brand mentions.
- Check review websites.
- Perform a Google search of your brand.
- Examine your social media posts for engagement and comments.
- Measure your employee engagement through surveys.
Signs you need a better brand reputation management process
While you’re hard at work in the real world, an outsized portion of your brand reputation exists online. That makes it easy to miss the signs you need to improve your brand reputation. Below, we’ve put together common signs that your online reputation score has taken a hit.
1. You have trouble recruiting top talent.
Empty chairs may signal that your brand reputation needs work. Just like your prospects, job candidates are conducting an informal sentiment analysis of your brand reputation. And 69% of applicants won’t work for a company with a poor brand reputation.
2. You notice declining sales.
If you can’t pinpoint a reason sales are down, take a look at your online reviews. About half of consumers put as much stock in online reviews as they do recommendations from family and friends.
Managing your brand reputation isn’t as simple as avoiding one-star reviews. Consumers like to see at least 100 reviews to make an informed decision. And five stars across the board isn’t necessarily great. Consumers understand that mistakes happen and may not trust the truthfulness of a perfect 5-star rating.
3. You have low brand awareness.
It takes a sound brand reputation management strategy to become top-of-mind when consumers are ready to buy. A good practice is the “Rule of 7,” which states that a consumer has to encounter your brand seven times before it reaches their awareness when they’re ready to make a purchase.
4. You lack customer referrals.
Your customers are a great source of leads. Or at least they should be. Up to 70% of people have made a major purchase based on a recommendation from a loved one. If customers aren’t sending their friends your way, it’s time to take a proactive approach to brand reputation management.
5. Your competition has a better brand reputation.
Nearly all of your prospects are searching online before they buy. And if your competition is putting an ounce of effort into brand reputation management and you’re not, you’re going to lose out. Consider this:
- 95% of Google searches never go to the second page of results.
- Businesses see a 9% increase in sales when their overall rating goes up by one star.
- 78% of users make purchases based on social media influence.
- Over half of consumers will change their opinion of a bad review based on the business’s response.
- Social media users mention brands, on average, 360 times per month.
6. You have negative customer reviews.
We get it. Some customers can be unreasonable, needy, or even abusive. We believe most reviews are written in good faith. But you can count on an irate customer to open his web browser to leave a bad review the moment he ends his call with your company.You can head off the damage of negative reviews with a brand management reputation strategy. Responding to reviews promptly (even positive ones) will improve your brand reputation. And your reputation can remain intact if you professionally and politely respond to negative reviews.
7. You have low social media engagement.
Don’t underestimate social media’s power to influence your brand recognition. If your follower count is low or if your posts are met with silence, it’s time to get on board with social media marketing.Paid ads aren’t cutting it anymore. Even if consumers see your paid ad, it won’t have the punch that social media marketing has. Many people don’t trust paid advertising. And besides, ad blockers are on the rise.Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels may be your best bet for reaching your customers. You can increase engagement, expand sales, and boost your brand reputation at the same time by using influencers.Social media marketing is an art, and you can learn more about how to leverage social media here.
8. Your brand is caught in negative publicity.
Social media has had its shining moments during which it brought people together. For example, the ALS bucket challenge raised $100 million for the cause.All too often, though, social media has made our differences seem bigger. The culture wars, political polarization, and cancel culture are all magnified on social media. As a result, companies can unintentionally find themselves in hot water.If your company is in the news for the wrong reasons, you need a better reputation management process to turn the damage around.
9. You’re prepping for a new product launch.
The adrenaline rush that comes with developing and launching a product is why many entrepreneurs love running their own businesses. But when you send your (expensive) baby out into the world, you want to give it every chance of success. A brand reputation management strategy is just the thing to give your new product wings to soar.
10. You’re looking for a proven way to grow your business.
A brand reputation and growth go hand-in-hand. From being top-of-mind to being trustworthy, your brand’s reputation influences nearly every aspect of your growth. No doubt about it. Brand reputation translates into growth. Stocks perform 2.5 times better when an organization’s brand is in a good place.
Successful brand revitalization examples
You can’t afford to let your brand reputation go by the wayside. But if your brand reputation isn’t where you want it to be, take heart. Many companies that have seen their brands take a nosedive have been able to climb back up with a better reputation management process.
In 2012, Chick-fil-A found itself in the crosshairs of the culture wars when its CEO, Dan Cathy, publicly opposed gay marriage. As a result, Chick-fil-A was in the awkward position of being boycotted by supporters of the LGBTQ community while being hailed by conservative groups. The controversy even forced the closure of its first U.K. store six months after opening.By 2018, a Harris Poll identified Chick-fil-A as having one of the best brand reputations around. How did they turn it around?To start, Chick-fil-A stepped away from the debate by issuing a comment that “going forward [they will] leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” Second, they stopped donating to two organizations with a history of opposing gay marriage.Next, they went on business as usual. Because Chick-fil-A was already doing a lot right to manage its brand reputation. The restaurant chain continued to close on Sundays, and its employees are still known as the friendliest workers in the fast food industry.Chick-fil-A still found itself embroiled in the culture war when its DEI policy came under fire. True to its statement from the Dan Cathy controversy, Chick-fil-A refused to comment. The Chick-fil-A saga shows that when it comes to controversial issues, it’s best to stay above the fray.
Hitting the right note on trending issues is tough. Just look at Pepsi’s infamous Kendall Jenner ad that attempted to support the Black Lives Matter movement. In the ad, Jenner, who is white, diffuses tension between protesters and the police by offering a policeman a can of Pepsi.Critics condemned the ad as making light of a serious issue. Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, Bernice King, called out the brand with a biting tweet that read, “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.”Pepsi immediately pulled the ad and apologized. The gaffe goes to show that any company can make brand reputation management wrong. It also shows the value of a sincere apology.
It was bad enough that GM recalled 1.6 million cars for a faulty ignition switch, its largest recall in history. But things went from bad to worse when it was revealed that the company knew about the faulty switch for a decade and at least 12 people died as a result. Amid inevitable lawsuits and hefty criminal fines, GM arguably saved itself when it ramped up its brand reputation management strategy.GM’s social media imploded with outrage and angry customers. The brand’s social media marketing team worked overtime responding individually to customers. The brand used its social media channels to help customers suddenly left without transportation. GM even paid $600 to ferry an Alaskan customer’s car off and to a dealership in Juneau.GM’s social media management strategy shows any company can come back from the brink if they take responsibility and treat their customers with empathy.
Every generation or so, buying habits change and the happening stores of yesteryear get shuttered. From Main Street to malls to Radio Shack, history shows few can weather the changing tides. Best Buy proved them wrong when the rise of online shopping threatened.In 2010, sales were down despite foot traffic. Leaders realized people were coming to the store to compare products, then buying them for less online. They responded by cleaning up their stores, bringing in new products, and increasing training for their sales floor. They also embraced online shopping and revamped their online presence.It worked. Best Buy has found its niche by offering all the perks of online shopping with a real-world buying experience.
Old Spice showed that old-school can be rebranded with great success. Once the scent of grandpas, Old Spice used a winning mix of humor and sex appeal to make itself relevant again. Its “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign has 61 million YouTube views and counting.Old Spice’s rebranding had a long-lasting impact. The “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign debuted in 2010. And in 2022, Old Spice sales grew by 15%.
Importance of a better brand reputation management process
The above examples show that you can always do better with your brand reputation management process. You may have one more signs of a lackluster brand reputation. Crickets when you post on social media, poor online reviews, and disastrous publicity are just a few of the pitfalls of the digital age. But you can overcome these and many more when you create a solid brand reputation management process.