Brand management

7 successful brand reputation management strategies

Reputation is everything for today’s brands. Your brand’s reputation is how people perceive your organisation, from your day-to-day consumers to your employees and stakeholders.

Fundamentally, the stronger your reputation, the more you’re trusted and respected by those around you. This in turn increases customer loyalty, boosts sales and grows your market share. Those are incredible benefits, but they come with a hefty burden, as just one or two missteps can cause your reputation to tumble, and put you on a long road to recovery.

Maintaining a strong brand reputation demands long-term, end-to-end management, addressing both the positive and the negative. In this guide, we share strategies we’ve learned across our 20+ years of working with global brands to help you stay in good standing with your target audiences.

Brand reputation management quote by Warren Buffet - It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it

What is brand reputation management?

Brand reputation management is the steps and strategies you take to monitor, govern and protect your reputation with your audiences.

In this digital age, most of that takes place online. From comments on your social media platforms to dedicated review websites such as Yelp, Trustpilot and Google Reviews, there are many forums for your customers, employees and beyond to share their thoughts about your brand, products and services.

And what they say matters. Around 90% of consumers say they won’t frequent a business with a negative reputation, while nearly 70% of job candidates would reject job offers from a company with a poor reputation – even if they were unemployed!

Brand reputation statistics infographic about the impact of negative company reviews and reputation on consumers and candidates

What does brand reputation management involve?

As much of what dictates a brand’s reputation happens online, managing this will typically include:

  • Monitoring brand mentions, comments and messages on social media
  • Checking your platform’s online review pages and responding to comments
  • Responding to customer enquiries through emails, contact forms and other communication channels
  • Developing public relations strategies to handle how your brand is presented in the media and manage crises
  • Collaborating with industry experts and influencers with strong reputations
  • Creating expert content on your website and wider platforms to demonstrate your thought leadership

However, it’s equally important to manage your brand offline. Communications with customers and appearances in local publications can majorly contribute to how people perceive you.

How do I measure my brand’s reputation?

While there is no clear-cut way to know if your brand has a good or bad reputation, several indicators can help you gauge public opinion:

6 ways to measure your brand reputation - brand sentiment, customer surveys, reviews, media mentions, feedback and  awards

Tracking these metrics will give you a solid sense of how people view your brand, and whether you must take action to repair any damage.

The importance of a positive brand reputation – and the costs of a negative one

The importance of your brand’s reputation cannot be overstated. As mentioned earlier, it’s one of the biggest influences on trust between your brand and your core audiences. A negative reputation won’t inspire confidence in potential customers or employees – particularly if your competitors have a more positive stature.

But its value goes far beyond trust – a positive brand reputation:

Boosts sales and revenue

When you have many positive reviews from satisfied customers, others will naturally want to experience the same quality. Conversely, an abundance of 1-star reviews will scare potential customers away, costing you revenue.

Customers willing to spend 31% more on a  business with excellent reviews - Brand reputation and revenue statistics - Source: Invesp

Builds customer loyalty

A consistent reputation breeds loyalty among your audience, as they understand they can trust you to deliver on their expectations. As you can imagine, having a constant stream of loyal customers coming back time and again contributes significantly to your ongoing success.

Attracts top talent

Modern candidates are increasingly concerned about the reputation, ethics and social responsibility of the brands they work for. The better your reputation, the better your chances of recruiting and retaining the best available talent.

86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings - Employer brand reputation statistic - Source: Glassdoor

Opens doors to partnerships

Did you know that 69% of consumers trust recommendations from their favourite influencers? These personalities also have reputations to uphold, so a strong brand reputation is crucial to secure these beneficial partnerships.

Increases brand awareness

There’s an old saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. However, constant negative feedback results in the wrong type of brand awareness – the type that wards away potential customers. Effective brand management helps you appear in the right places to attract consumers, from search engines to social channels.

Brand trust statistic - 82% of shoppers make purchases based on brand trust - Source: Shopify

Grows brand equity

Greater loyalty and awareness among your target audiences contributes to better brand equity. This helps increase your market share among competitors, and enables you to charge more for your goods and services.

Minimises the impact of a crisis

Every organisation makes mistakes or unpopular decisions from time to time. With a healthy brand reputation, you’re in a better position to navigate troublesome moments and minimise the repercussions. If you have a weak reputation already, these moments may prove the final straw for your audiences.

Discover how to master brand communication - Link to Papirfly guide

7 effective brand reputation management strategies to protect your stature

Now you understand the value of a strong brand reputation, what can you do to establish and preserve this?

Of course, the core of any good brand reputation is offering quality products and services. Nothing will redeem you long-term if you fail to meet this benchmark. But from this foundation, there are numerous steps you can take to reinforce your status:

1. Encourage authentic reviews and ratings from your customers

First, regularly encourage feedback from your customers, both positive and negative. When they buy your product or use your services, ask them to share a review either in person, via email or attached to your invoices. 65% of people will leave a review if prompted by an organisation.

Ideally, your overall review rating should be between 4 and 4.7 stars. 57% of consumers won’t use a business with a rating below 4 stars, but the likelihood of purchases also dips the closer you get to the full 5 stars, as many customers consider this inauthentic or inflated.

Authenticity is essential. Whether people love or loathe your products or services, potential customers want an honest assessment to make their judgements. Fake positive reviews don’t benefit you or your reputation.

Online review and reputation statistics infographic - Sources: Podium and BrightLocal

2. Respond promptly to any customer concerns

From a critical email to a negative review, you must proactively respond to customer issues with your brand. 89% of consumers say they are likelier to frequent businesses that respond to all reviews, positive or negative.

Brand sentiment analysis and social listening tools can help you here, spotlighting any negative online comments or reviews so you can promptly respond. With your responses, remember to:

  • Provide a solution to their issue where possible, or reassure the person that you are actively working on one
  • Demonstrate empathy for their frustration or dissatisfaction
  • Maintain communication while their issue is being resolved
  • Follow up with the person once their problem is solved, and potentially encourage them to rescind or update their review

For more efficient responses, you may establish template answers for frequently asked queries or problems you have identified. However, you should use these only as a base and tailor your specific responses to the customer’s direct concerns.

And remember, negative feedback can be the springboard to positive improvements for your organisation, so always welcome these with open arms!

3. Maintain consistency across your brand assets

Your reputation is judged by more than your online reviews. Most customers expect consistent messaging across every engagement they have with your brand. Any break in your tone, visual identity, brand colours and more can make your brand appear disorganised and unprofessional, harming your overall reputation.

It’s essential your branding and marketing stay consistent on every channel. To achieve this:

  • Establish clear brand guidelines that tie down your brand’s identity
  • Develop branded design templates to keep your assets aligned across all platforms
  • Invest in a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution to provide a single library of approved assets for your teams
  • Recycle existing brand assets in different formats to maintain the same look and feel
  • Monitor your marketing campaigns to identify any instances of inconsistency at the earliest opportunity

For more advice on this topic, check out our ultimate guide to brand consistency.

 87% of customers think brands should work harder at brand consistency - Source: Convert Group

4. Create brand reputation guidelines and a communications strategy

In a similar vein, it’s beneficial to establish specific brand reputation guidelines to define how you communicate your brand and respond to feedback. These guidelines could include:

  • Your brand values and mission statements
  • Your brand’s visual identity, including logos, colour palettes, typography and imagery
  • Your tone of voice, ensuring messages reflect your brand’s personality
  • A framework for crafting messages, comments and responses in line with your brand identity
  • Crisis communication protocols to manage negative publicity quickly
  • Social media guidelines that dictate how you engage with followers on your social profiles
  • Customer service standards that set expectations for all customer interactions
  • Partnership and sponsorship criteria that ensure you select partners and sponsors that align with your brand’s values

With a solid communications strategy in place somewhere readily accessible to your marketing, PR and branding teams across the globe, you help ensure a consistent approach and reputation at all times.

5. Invest in online listening tools

It’s impossible to stay abreast of everything people say about your brand manually – at least not without a considerable investment of time and resources. 

Online listening tools can monitor and track references to your brand on social media, Google, review sites and beyond. This allows you to instantly see, digest and respond to any negative sentiment, as well as measure the performance of branded hashtags and specific marketing campaigns.

Some online listening tools will cost you nothing to set up. Google Alerts is a great example, one every brand should pay attention to, sending you daily email notifications for particular keywords and phrases you want to track online.

Other noteworthy online listening tools include:

6. Focus on enhancing your SEO

68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and they are among the most trustworthy sources of information for consumers. Therefore, the higher your website ranks on search engines, the more reputable your brand appears.

Devoting time to your SEO strategy helps your brand get noticed on these essential destinations, and establishes you as a thought leader in your industry. To ramp up your SEO efforts, consider:

  • Creating engaging, relevant content that addresses your audience’s questions and needs
  • Keeping your content up-to-date to maintain its relevance and freshness
  • Optimising your content, titles, images and more with the correct keywords to generate search traffic
  • Improving the structure of your website through internal linking and a consistent URL layout
  • Acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites in your industry
  • Ensuring your business information is consistent across online directories and listings
  • Enhancing user experience (UX) by making your website easy to navigate and visually appealing
SEO and trust statistics for trusting search engine results and number 1 results in Google  - Source: Convert Group

7. Harness user-generated content and brand advocates

Lastly, we noted earlier how consumers are more inclined to trust individuals than brands. This is nothing ground-breaking, but it does make user-generated content (UGC), testimonials and similar assets incredibly effective at raising your brand reputation.

By showcasing customers using your products or services in videos, or sharing employee experiences on review websites such as Glassdoor, this presents an authentic impression of the quality of your organisation.

The more third-party advocates and influencers you have promoting the benefits of your brand, the more trustworthy and reputable you appear to your target audiences.

Build your reputation on an on-brand culture

With your brand’s reputation fundamental to your long-term revenue, recognition and success, we hope this guide gives you the foundation to control this across all platforms.

Of course, a strong brand reputation is based on a robust on-brand culture. An environment where all your teams understand your values and identity, and have the tools to communicate these across your marketing operations.

Identifying an effective brand management software solution gives your teams the foundation to maintain this consistent presentation. With this structure, your customers, employees and beyond are encouraged to gain trust in your organisation, keeping your reputation solid and stable for years to come.

Ready to unleash your brand consistently on every channel? Empower your people with Papirfly – the all-in-one brand management platform