What Branding Experts Have to Say About Reputation Management
Developing a strong brand goes hand in hand with reputation management. Your brand supports a good reputation, and maintaining your online reputation is essential to having a valuable brand. But how exactly can you stay on top of both branding and reputation management? We’ve asked several branding experts for their best tips. Find out what top branding experts have to say about maintaining your brand with reputation management:
It’s important to proactively create and communicate your brand – you don’t
want others doing it for you because then you’ll have inconsistent messages
circulating. We need to control the message and make sure they are saying
what we’d want them to say. Professional branding is very important for
everyone, but especially for professional services providers, where we ARE
the brand! Professional branding is also very important in a job search to
make you stand out among all the other candidates and applicants.
The quickest way to develop your personal brand is to use Tom Peters’ DNA
D: Dependable – what can people depend on you for?
N: Novel – what’s novel about you and unique compared to others who do what
A: Attitude – how do you “show up”? Are you a big energy? Always go the
extra mile? A thoughtful, professorial type?
It’s a great shorthand to use when putting together your first draft. Then
speak to co-workers, customers, vendors, all your stakeholders and ask them
these 3 questions. This will help you refine and validate your brand.
The key to reputation management through branding lies in laying the
groundwork well ahead of potential situations. Brands who have positioned
themselves as trustworthy members of the community tend to come out ahead
in situations that would wreak havoc on brands that don’t carry such
consumer sentiment. Generally, it’s trustworthiness built through treating
employees right and giving back to the community in a gracious manner that
helps brand maintain face when potentially damaging situations arise.
1.) Start with brand behavior, not brand messaging. Actions before words. That takes a lot of pressure off your communications staff.
2.) Attach your brand to a cause – one, rather than several, which lessens recall and retention – and go all in with your people, products and services.
3.) When in crisis, don’t try and game Google, when it comes to SEO strategies aimed at getting yourself off of page 1. The only way to replace that
harmful post/story is to develop and distribute positive content that will ultimately push it off the front pages – and that takes time.
4.) Speak. Presentations and speeches deliver messages and leave brand imprints that often eclipse third-party publicity.
5.) Do the right thing. Even when it hurts. And don’t be afraid to let customers, clients, employees, vendors and other stakeholders
see your pain. They will embrace you for it.
The best way to maximize branding for reputation
management is with a solid “monitoring & repurposing” plan in place. First,
identify the positive things that people are saying about your brand. Then
create content with those testimonials or reviews to amplify that message:
1. Write blog posts optimized for SEO that include testimonials &
2. Write posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ that link to the
3. Create a Pinterest board with custom images that include
quotes from the testimonials – link the pins back to the blog post
4. Add testimonials and positive reviews into your LinkedIn
5. Try to get video testimonials – upload them to YouTube, embed
them in your blog posts, share them through social media
Remember to continue to encourage your customers to provide their feedback
and thank your customers when they do!
1. Making customer support and satisfaction a primary brand attribute (and
backing it up) – Companies like Nordstrom and Amazon have built stellar
brand reputations on their excellent customer support and satisfaction.
This starts by making customer support/satisfaction a priority within your
organization. You need to establish systems and protocols to ensure
customers can easily communicate with you and that your employees are
equipped with the right tools and attitude to make your customers happy.
But this also includes crafting your messaging and outward communications
so that your audience is aware of your commitment to customer satisfaction.
2. Monitor social media diligently – 10 years ago, customers had a few
channels to air their complaints, and most of them were in private
conversations in person or via the phone or email. But now unhappy
customers often first turn to very public forums like Facebook and Twitter
if they have an issue or complaint. This means that you need to have the
processes and technology in place to both monitor social media as well as
respond to customers quickly. Nobody expects brands to be perfect, but if
your audience sees you are diligent on social media in responding to your
customers and satisfying their needs, they will be more likely to try your
service/product, and your reputation will be intact.
There are 3 parts to branding what people see, what people hear (or read)
and what people experience. The brand factor that has the biggest impact in
reputation management is experience. Organizations spend so much time on
cultivating the look and message they want to present but the world where
companies can manage impression solely through consistent repeat messaging
is gone. Social Media and search have increased the spread of opinion
A successfully branded company has zealots. Encouraging folks to grab their
friends by the hand and drag them over with ³you have to try this²
insistence has always been the goal of branders. Now, with the emergence of
social sharing, advocates who have experiences so positive they want to
share with their both their friends and the company are gold. If a company
is not actively working to create positive share-worthy experiences, online
reputation will suffer. When bad reviews, negative comments and zero
engagement on social sites populate the web, all the brand positioning,
redesign and ad money in the world can¹t overcome it.
Branding for reputation management is, at the core, the main purpose for branding. Branding is the conscious decision of who/what you are and then the detailed and direct control of that brand.
Basic steps for managing your reputation via branding include:
1) Mastering your domain. Register as many iterations of your name/brand for domain web sites. Control what is posted there.
2) Manage, organize, and oversee the information relayed via all social media platforms. Once you place yourself “out” there as a brand there is no such thing as “personal” social media.
This includes any and all images/photographs/videos that find their way onto the web.
3) Conduct regular Google searches of your name, sites, brand, company, etc. See what is being said that you are not saying.
4) Address any issues that require attention. Embrace transparency but control that transparency.
5) Remember the adage “word of mouth is the best advertising.” In essence that is what branding is/does. It is the new term for word of mouth publicity.
The key to all of these basic elements, and branding in general is controlling the information that is relayed.