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  • Laurus College: Brand Reputation Management

    Brand Reputation Management
    by: Brad Koyak from Spectre Graphics
     
    What Is Brand Reputation Management
     
    Wikipedia defines reputation management as “the influencing and controlling or concealing of an individual’s or group’s reputation.” That sounds pretty sinister to me. Controlling, manipulating, and concealing are all terms that simply mean hiding your brand’s skeletons in the proverbial closet. I propose that managing the reputation of your brand is more than simply sweeping problems under the rug. It’s using social media and reviews as a temperature gage to find out how your brand is doing. Then, using that data to make changes that improve relationships with your customers.
     
    It is no secret that the number one form of advertising has always and will always be word of mouth. However, what we consider to be word of mouth has changed significantly over the years. Traditionally we might hear about a business from a friend or relative who had either a positive or negative experience. With the introduction of the Internet has changed how word of mouth works. Sites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp have provided the ability to share our experiences with not just our personal network but also millions of strangers across the globe.
     
    Brand vs Brand Reputation
     
    There is a difference between your brand position and your brand reputation. A brand is a collection of elements that form a directed feeling about a company, product line, or individual product. The brand position is effectively what your brand is “known” for. For example, Rolex is a company that sells luxury items. They are known for very high quality products for discerning wealthy individuals. The Rolex brand focuses on watches but it is also used to sponsor events that match the brand’s romantic ideals. When a brand introduces a new product or marketing campaign, the company ensures it matches the brand position.
     
    Your brand reputation is simple: it’s just the public perception of your brand. Public perception is based on several factors. Firstly, matching customer expectation with company provided elements are important. For example, product or service quality, customer service, and marketing materials make a difference. When you produce a quality product with quality customer support, customers will naturally respond well. How well you are perceived is based on how well people think of your actual brand meshes with its intended brand position.  Secondly, part of your reputation is the public perception of your brand’s ethics, political leanings, and response to crisis. Finally, a large part of your brand reputation is how you manage negative comments and reviews.
     
    Why is Brand Reputation Management Important
     
    It may or may not surprise you to learn that what users say about your brand is important. A survey conducted by Bright Ideas found that 91% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. In addition, 93% of consumers used the Internet to find a local business in the last year. Moreover, 34% of those consumers are searching daily. In fact, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. Up from 81% in 2019.
     
    What Businesses Need to Focus on Reputation Management
     
    In short, every business should be focusing on reputation management. That being said the industries in which consumers are most likely to have read reviews are:
     
    Restaurants
    Hotels
    Medical
    Automotive
    Clothing stores
     
    Brand reputation management is also important for business-to-business services. For example, a local private security company I manage invested $600 between 2018 and 2019 into Google AdWords. In 2020 we switched that same budget into reputation management. The increase in lead generation was more than 67% resulting in a revenue increase of over 300%. Brand reputation management has a direct impact on a business’s SEO.
     
    How do I Manage My Business’s Brand Reputation
     
    Brand reputation management involves many different elements. The most important of which are reviews and listings.
     
    Reviews
     
    The most important review factors are: star righting, legitimacy, recency, sentiment, and quality. According to the 2020 Bright Local survey only 48% of consumers are willing to use a business with fewer than 4 stars. Moreover, only 13% of consumers are willing to use a business with 1-2 stars.
     
    The first part is getting reviews. 92% of buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a review. This can be one of the most challenging parts of brand reputation management. Consumers are far more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than they are after a positive experience.
     
    In addition, it is crucial to continuously gain new reviews. 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month.
     
    Receiving a review alone isn’t enough. 20% of consumers expect to receive a response after writing a review. While Yelp has long held the title as the number once source for reviews, in 2020 consumers were more likely to look at Google My Business for local business reviews. However, the most trusted site for business reviews is the Better Business Bureau.
     
    Listings
     
    Listings are where brand reputation management becomes a prime factor in a business’s SEO. Businesses need to maintain a correct listing. If consumers cant find you they cant choose you. 66% of a business’s ability to show up in local search is linked to managing your listings and reputation. Listings need to be claimed and accurate. There are hundreds of listing sites. However, the task of not only claiming a business but also correcting the listing information is daunting. There are incredibly affordable services for as little as $50 that will do this for you.
     
    Next Steps with Managing Your Brand Reputation
     
    Hopefully you found this post education and helpful. Stay tuned for my next post on how to manage a business’s reputation. We will be talking more in depth about how listings work, where to manage you various accounts, how to encourage reviews, and what exactly your business should be focusing on.
     
    Learn More about Digital Marketing
     
    Want to learn more about managing your brand reputation? Want to start a career in digital marketing and web design? Laurus College offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Web Design and Development. Learn More.
     
    References
     
    Conner, C. (2016, August 3). 9 Online Reputation Management Services Entrepreneurs Can Achieve By Themselves. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2016/07/19/9-online-reputation-management-services-entrepreneurs-can-achieve-by-themselves/
     
    Murphy, R. (2021, January 14). Local Consumer Review Survey: How Customer Reviews Affect Behavior. BrightLocal. https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/
     
    Yu, B., & Singh, M. P. (2000, July). A social mechanism of reputation management in electronic communities. In International Workshop on Cooperative Information Agents (pp. 154-165). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
     
    ABOUT BRAD KOYAK
    In 2nd grade we all had to go around the classroom and state what we wanted to be when we grow up, all the other kids picked a fireman, policeman, doctor, I chose Ad-man. Graduated with my BFA in Advertising Design, M.Ed in Curriculum and Instructional Design, and an MS in Educational Psychology. I have spent my career walking the thin line between design and advertising campaign development. I spent the last five years specializing in Digital Marketing.

    Link to the original article may be found here: https://lauruscollege.edu/brand-reputation-management/