Brand Reputation is the perception of the brand and how the particular brand of the company is viewed by the customers, stakeholders, and the market as a whole. It is the culmination of ideas and emotions that a customer associated with the brand with the customer service experienced during the purchase of goods and services, whilst using them, and after-sales services provided by the company.
Brand Reputation is a must have intangible asset for the organization
Over the last decade, technology has bought through tremendous change in the way we think and perceive brands as every minute detail is available on our fingertips with the help of mobile technology that has embraced social media and digital marketing that has made our life a lot easier but has some or other perils to it.
Initially, the brand was experienced by the customers by visiting at the store and indulging in the sales and purchase of goods and services but now with the need of an hour almost every brand is available on social media for promotions and presence in the market plus giving an option to the customers for online shopping.
Earlier the feedback on the products purchased and customer service experienced was given on one-to-one basis but now it is visible to the entire world, hence, the brands need to be more and more cautious with their every expression as it directly affects their reputation in the market and in the minds of the customers.
Even the small error in service can be visible to the entire world by a single tweet by that unhappy customer or a single comment on Instagram, Facebook or any of the online forums related to that specific brand and product.
In order to sustain and maintain the Brand Reputation in the virtual world, there has been a rise in the concept of online reputation management as the internet has become the most powerful medium for information with various search engines and the transparency that comes along with it.
The brand managers need to be proactive with the customers with their every online expression, PR strategy, advertisements, and all other marketing and promotional tools. Even proper training and development needs to be given to the employees to maintain the brand equity and reputation. The company needs to have a holistic approach and think on the long-term basis rather than just the profits to uphold and elevate the Brand Reputation.
Online social media and digital marketing is a blessing as well the curse as there are cases such as trolling, infringement, fake identities, and more but the catch remains that the brand needs to remain planted to its objectives of quality, excellent customer service, best of after sale services, and being customer-centric. And in case of any unforeseen issues and circumstances, the management and brand managers need to be agile and proactive to solve the same maintaining the repute of the brand.
Importance of Brand Reputation:
Having a strong and positive Brand Reputation in the market generates the factor of trust in the minds of existing and prospective customers as they believe that the brand is here to thrive and sustain and fulfill all its promises. Also, the customer always purchases the goods and services from the brand that is well known in the market and within his or her social circle.
2. Customer Loyalty
With the increased level of trust amongst the customers and the good reputation of the brand in the market, the customers remain loyal to the brand by purchasing the products and services of the firm and not going for the offerings by the competitors in the market despite the discount packages and reduced prices. This way the brand can also demand a premium price
3. Higher Sales
Brand Reputation being the most beneficial intangible asset of the organization gives rise to the tangible asset of the firm that is higher sales and increased profits as the brand has carved a niche for itself in the market plus it has is also gained the trust and loyalty of the customers through its consistent efforts of maintaining the quality and service levels.
4. Competitive Edge
The company that has a good Brand Reputation enjoys multiple benefits and one of them is having an advantage in the market amidst the ever-growing competition as the customers always believe in and go for the brands that have a positive standing in the market and are well-known amongst their friends and family.
5. Word of Mouth
The customers are best brand ambassadors of the company and if they are happy and satisfied with the brand they refer the same to their social circle and with this cycle getting continued and elongated, Brand Reputation of the company not only rises in manifold with the positive word of mouth but also makes the company fulfills its objectives of higher sales and profits.
6. Business Expansion
A good and strong Brand Reputation gives an impetus to the confidence of the management to expand the operations of the firm by tapping new markets on the domestic and international levels and also expand the product line and offerings.
7. Employee Retention
As the customer wants to get associated with the brand that enjoys the good repute in the market, likewise, the employees and workforce want to get linked with the brand that is stable and has a strong reputation in the industry.
Right from maintaining the quality of the products and providing the excellent levels of customer service, the Brand Reputation can also be maintained and elevated by initiating various Corporate Social Responsibilities activities by the organization. It is the result of everything that a brand does in the market for its customers.
Brand Reputation is the compass of the brand that brings in various benefits and merits stated above for the organization and make it survive, thrive, and sustain in the market amidst the cut-throat competition and changing business cycles.
The concept of Brand Reputation means how the particular brand is viewed and perceived by its existing and prospective customers along with the market as a whole. It is the result of every expression and activity that a brand conducts to sell its products and services and marks its visibility in the market.
It is very important to build Brand Reputation as it brings along a lot of benefits to the company, some of which are mentioned below:
Benefits of Building Brand Reputation
- Competitive Advantage
- Brand Awareness
- Customer Loyalty
- Higher Sales
- Increased Profits
- Credibility in the Market
- Trust amongst the Customers
- Brand Value and much more
In today’s market scenario, it is very important for the companies to build and work on their Brand Reputation in the real world as well as on the virtual reality platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, Twitter, and various other online forums and web portals related to the company and its activities. The main reason behind looking after the online Brand Reputation is that with the changing business dynamics and market cycles there is a boom in online sales of the products and services and every brand is adhering and following the same route in order to achieve their objectives of sales and profits.
Plus, another factor is that along with using the conventional marketing tools to promote the brand offerings, the brands have to opt for digital marketing solutions such as promotions on various social media platforms, designing apps, in-app promotions, SEO, SEM, affiliate marketing, e-mail campaigns, and much more as it comes at a nominal costs and there is a direct attention of the target audience as in today’s world, every activity that we conduct is through the medium of online directly or indirectly.
Along with the various benefits, online sales and promotions come along with some perils such as a single error in the customer service experience or any wrong move on the social media is visible to the entire world that can have an adverse effect on the Brand Reputation of the company.
Examples of bad hits to Brand Reputation
Below we discuss the examples of how one wrong move on the social media affected the Brand Reputation of the firm
Recently, a video had gone viral on the internet of the KFC employees enjoying a bubble bath in the kitchen area at one of their outlets and this had resulted in the instant lash out by the general public and its customers thereby affecting the reputation of their brand in the market.
2. H & M
The retail giant was quite recently accused of racism because of one of the advertisement creative showcasing a black child model wearing a hoodie that read ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ and was posted on their website. The images garnered widespread criticism with their Brand Ambassador The Weekend who is the famous Canadian singer broke his ties with the fashion brand. Also, the protestors created the ruckus in the brand’s stores located in South Africa. To combat the same and as a corrective measure, the management had to release an apology statement.
Thus, both examples are of top brands where incidences happened and where the brand should have kept their brand reputation in mind before taking the decisions. To build brand reputation, you need to understand your consumer psyche very well.
7 Ways to build Brand Reputation
1. Be Proactive
With reference to the above-mentioned examples, the management and the brand managers need to be very proactive in their approach especially on the online and digital front in case of any slip up or error during any marketing and promotional activities and should be quick and upbeat enough to resolve the issue then and there rather than waiting for the abrupt reaction from the general public and target audience.
2. Be Specific
The customer nowadays is much more intelligent and aware and has lot many alternative options available due to social media and digital marketing initiatives. Hence, the brand needs to be more specific with the aspects such as delivery time and after sale services to avoid any oblivion. It is always suggestive to follow the rule of ‘Under promise and over deliver’.
3. Be Authoritative
If the brand has full trust and faith in its offerings and knows that they are best in the market as compared to the prevailing competition, it needs to be more authoritative and harp on its best features and benefits offered. Like if the quality of the product is the unique selling proposition, the brand needs to go full throttle and flaunt this factor in its marketing and promotional tactics to elevate the reputation of the brand in the minds of customers and within the fraternity.
4. Be Consistent
The concept and facets of Brand Reputation live even after the company has shut down its operations and there is no existence of the same. Hence, it is imperative to be consistent in the efforts of offering quality products and services, scaling up the levels of customer service and the overall experience with every offering, and continuously promote the values and fundamentals using various promotional tools.
5. Deliver Promises
To scale up the Brand Reputation, the company needs to deliver its promises to the customers as a happy and satisfied customer is the best brand ambassador the company can ever have. He does the word of mouth publicity that attracts more referrals resulting in higher sales and increased profits.
6. Collect Feedback
It is also important to listen and gather the customer feedback that comprises of the issues, grievances, praises, tips, and more and act upon. The customer’s feedback is very vital for the growth of the brand and its reputation.
7. Indulge in Corporate Social Responsibilities activities:
It is crucial for every brand to give back to the society by indulging in various CSR activities at regular intervals. It can be done through its business operations or by participating with various NGO’s and related organizations. Such activities create a positive impact in the minds of customers and the overall society.
The strong and positive Brand Reputation is an intangible asset for any organization leading to multiple benefits such as higher brand value, brand awareness, and customer loyalty amongst others. Various promotional tools such as PR, digital marketing, social media, blogs, content marketing, advertisements on newspapers, television, and other media platforms can be opted to promote the values and fundamentals of the company that helps in building the Brand Reputation.