Your brand reputation determines how your business is viewed and perceived by its customers, stakeholders, and the wider market in which you operate. It has a huge impact on your company’s chances of success, and a positive reputation can go a long way in increasing customer confidence, which works to build loyalty. On the other hand, a negative standing can turn people off your business and adversely impact your bottom line.
In fact, corporate reputation accounts for a third of a business’s stock market value, while 41% of companies who suffered a negative reputation event reported a loss of brand value, and revenue in the aftermath. In today’s uber-competitive environment, it’s more crucial than ever to build a positive reputation, especially with online conversations relating to brand potentially occurring at any given moment. Here are some ways you can ensure your company is kept in a positive light.
1. Give back to the community
Research from the 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study shows that almost eight in 10 people believe it is unacceptable for brands to primarily concerned with making money, insisting that they also should be expected to positively impact society. After all, your own company is likely to have the money and resources to make a real difference. Acts of philanthropy not only help others—they can have a transformative effect on your brand reputation. The same study also noted that nearly nine in ten people would switch their allegiances to a company that is more purpose-driven.
There are many ways your own company can give back, whether by volunteering and sponsoring a fundraiser, to sharing your skills and donating to charities. Take lottery syndicate company Lotto Social, who encourage their users to donate to partnered local charities when buying tickets.
This is part of the brand’s Hope initiative, to which the company donates an additional £1,000 each month, to a good cause selected by its users. This scheme has already raised money for Football Beyond Borders, Foal Farm Animal Rescue Centre, and Children With Cancer UK, amongst others. The company then keep their users updated on how their donations have impacted the local area, improving the company’s reputation by establishing it as key to the community.
2. Master social media
Nowadays, a huge part of a brand’s identity and how they forge relationships with customers is through its social media presence. This is because, for many companies, social media represents their largest customer touchpoint. As such, how you conduct yourself on social media platforms hugely affects your brand reputation.
Indeed, 71% of consumers who’ve enjoyed a positive social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend them to others. On the other hand, bad experiences can turn customers away, and create negative word-of-mouth—which will spread exponentially more quickly thanks to the nature of social media.
Perhaps the most effective use of social media is for interacting with customers, which can foster an affinity that improves your reputation. With 96% of people actively engaging with brands they follow on social media, it’s crucial to keep the conversation going, whether by encouraging followers to post user-generated content, or asking questions through polls.
The type of content you post on social media is also crucial for creating a positive customer experience. Statistics show that 51% of people would unfollow brands for posting irritating content, while 46% would do the same if they post too many promotional messages. Consequently, you need to ensure you’re posting good content at the right frequency.
3. Respond to reviews
Online reviews are critical to your reputation, influencing 67% of consumers. Indeed, four out of five consumers have changed their mind about a purchase after reading negative online reviews. And while the quality of your products or services is obviously the key factor in the type of reviews you receive, how you respond can make a massive difference to your reputation. Research shows that 82% of consumers expect an immediate answer to any marketing or sales questions, so slow social media responses could add fuel to the fire. Failing to respond at all can be particularly disastrous, with a study finding that businesses who are guilty of this experiencing a 43% drop in customer advocacy.
Consequently, deleting any negative replies, copying and pasting the same replies, or taking too long to respond can all give the impression that you don’t care about your customers. You should instead provide personalised, prompt replies to any questions or complaints. Indeed, a customer is 33% more likely to change their negative view to a positive one if you respond within 24 hours. Even replying to positive comments can enhance people’s opinion of you, as it shows you are grateful to your customers and don’t take their custom for granted.