One of the critical aspects of growing a business is managing brand reputation. Positive branding helps to build a loyal following by increasing customer confidence, which drives more sales and more profits to fuel growth.
In today’s competitive digital environment, managing a brand is a priority for companies of all sizes. Conversation about your brand may be taking place online around the clock. Social media, forums, reviews, news, blogs, and search engines all contribute to public perceptions of your company. It’s important that your reputation and message be prominent as an industry-leading source for products and information. It’s also important that it stand out from competitors. Those are the brands customers will gravitate toward. Here are some keys to controlling your brand reputation.
1. Public Relations
Public relations professionals should always give thought to creating and sustaining the image you want the public to have of your company. PR requires regularly posting items that reinforce your company’s positions. These includes company values, messaging, and providing valued content worthy of a thought leader in your field.
Newspapers, social media, trade magazines, business publications, leading blogs, and other respected sources should all become part of your platform for promoting your brand. This includes addressing and minimizing negative feedback. There are even free tools to make this easier.
2. Search Engine Optimization
The majority of people today start their search for products or services on the internet. The most important tool is still search engines like Google or Bing, so SEO is vital to gaining brand recognition. You are likely losing business to competitors that rank higher on the SERPs (search engine result pages) than you do.
SEO is about leveraging the right content and key words customers will use to find you. But SEO listings will also include descriptions. For instance, if certain keywords lead to a negative comment about your company, you should avoid using those keywords in your content. Research your brand on the major search engines. A combination of unique, valuable content and carefully chosen keywords will continue boosting your search engine ranking.
3. Content Marketing
Ultimately, consumers will be introduced to your company by whatever content you’ve provided. Establishing trust and confidence requires earning some respect. Flashy websites or dated, re-hashed information won’t do it. You want an air of professionalism and content so helpful that your websites will become an authority people look to. White papers, articles, and blog posts that demonstrate your expertise and dedication will raise the awareness of your brand as a leading influencer.
4. Social Media
This is one of the most valuable marketing platforms today, in that it’s both relatively cheap and very effective. Social media accounts allow you to not only promote your brand, but to build relationships directly with your audience. A company they can engage with is a company they will follow. For example, the direct sales company ACN has established itself on Facebook and YouTube. This has been productive in growing a community of followers based on the shared characteristic of wanting to take charge of their own future earnings. Reviews for ACN among enthusiastic supporters remain positive and contribute in a significant way to branding.
In managing your brand, it’s important to stay informed of consumer and technology changes that will affect your industry. Often brands must adapt or rebuild. In the complex demands of daily business operations, you may lose sight of your own message and how it will affect response to your brand. In today’s world, your brand, not your various advertisements, is your chief marketing tool. Lack of brand management can lead to inconsistent or forgettable branding that erodes rather than builds customer confidence.