In this information age, everything your customers want to know about your brand is in the palm of their hand. Social media platforms, third party review websites, Amazon product reviews and Google have closed the divide between buyer and seller, allowing customers to thoroughly research a brand’s reputation before deciding to buy. With previous generations, brand transparency was a choice. Often times, large companies chose a reputation management strategy which hid information that could poorly affect their image. These days, transparency is not a choice, but a necessity – at least for brands that wish to stay competitive.
Social media has become an indispensable tool, allowing companies to build an authentic relationship with both existing and prospective customers. These platforms knock down walls between buyer and seller. While social media provides many exciting benefits, we must take the good with the bad. The same platforms that offer such promise, also create a breeding ground for negative reviews and comments.
Thanks to social media and the ease and availability of reviews through Google, Amazon and other independent sites, brand reputation is increasingly vulnerable. Consumers are investigating the ethics and history of businesses, from where they source their materials to their environmental impact, and of course their customer service. This generation of buyers is even more curious and apprehensive than ever.
While transparency is inevitable, it’s crucial for brands to properly manage it. Ignoring a transparency strategy means risking valuable business; but, execute the right strategy and you’ll not only protect your reputation, you’ll promote revenue.
One great way to get ahead of brand reputation is by being completely transparent about your values, vision and beliefs – starting right now. This allows consumers the opportunity to understand who you are at the core. Being clear about this from day one will help to alleviate any uncertainty around your brand given any bad reviews or negative publicity.
Another strategy is to face negativity head on. Just as bad reviews can be seen by millions, so can a company’s reaction to such feedback. Consumers value authenticity and brands that they can relate to. When challenged with a negative review, own up to mistakes and do what you can to correct them. Customers will ultimately thank you through their customer advocacy and positive promotion, turning a negative into a positive.
Negativity is impossible to avoid, but necessary to manage. Implementing the right reputation strategy for your brand will help to protect you from damaging the image you work hard to uphold. This era of transparency comes with great power AND great responsibility – don’t ignore your responsibility to properly manage it.
If you feel your reputation might be at risk or you’d like to mitigate risk before it’s too late, we’re happy to help. Our brand reputation managers put together the perfect formula for protecting your brand. Contact us to get started.