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Business reputation management has become crucial in 2020 – the circumstances of the world have hit people hard, making them wary of companies.
This has made it more important for businesses to work with their customers, delivering experiences that are positive, and which elevate the customer-brand relationship.
We share five top tips for managing brand reputation in 2020 that companies can follow.
1. Collateral that Boosts Business Reputation
Business reputation is intrinsically tied to brand awareness – if people can’t recognize your company, they aren’t going to engage with you or become your customers.
All brand collateral needs to reflect your assets and your ethos – in that way, your potential customer base will find it easier to discover you online and spread your message.
Some of the essential elements of your brand collateral include the following:
Visual elements – such as images and videos – that are shared as part of your brand message should incorporate the company logo.
The logo needs to be obvious without overwhelming the visual. By pushing your brand too much at your clients, you could hurt your online reputation.
Make your logo visible but highlight your message and story.
A letterhead is an essential part of your marketing collateral, used for official documents sent out to suppliers, company invoices, and HR documents like hiring letters. You can learn how to make a letterhead online to create something of the quality of the example below.
To create a custom letterhead, remember to include these basic components:
- Memorable color combinations
- Logo placement
- Background color
- A header and footer
Putting these elements together will help you design a letterhead that will look professional and do the job it’s meant to.
Brand Colors and Fonts
Official brand colors and fonts should be used as often as possible to build brand recognition and business reputation.
But avoid using the font from the company logo – this is far too stylized and will be hard to read for users. Use your text fonts in your messaging instead.
Keeping your color use to a minimum of 2-3 colors – as specified in the company’s guidelines – also helps to create cohesiveness in your online presence.
2. Prioritize Customer Service
To build on your business reputation, you need to deliver excellent customer service consistently.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – what does their buyer journey look like? Are they at the awareness stage, or acquisition stage? You can see in the strategy mind map below that buyers are looking for different relationships with businesses and are more responsive to particular touchpoints.
Understanding this journey will help businesses offer services that will encourage customers towards the next stage in the brand relationship – and eventually, towards making a purchase.
Customer service requires the company to be there for the customer and add value to their brand experiences by doing the following:
- Keeping in touch with your customer
- Being empathetic and compassionate
- Walking your customer through the product
- Creatively addressing customer issues to reach resolutions
Prioritize customer service to improve your business reputation.
3. Respond to Comments
Social media has made brands more accessible to users than ever before. They follow brands online, like their posts, retweet, share, and comment.
Brands should not be afraid of receiving comments online – this is a sign that the content you are developing is engaging enough that people want to interact with them.
Of course, ratios are important on social media – you don’t want more comments than likes and retweets as that could indicate a mistake in the post or that people disagree with your message. According to the top digital marketing tips of 2020, asking people to respond to posts is crucial for growing your brand. When you receive comments, reply to them, as Chobani does.
This is a crucial step in building your business reputation online – it lets users know that your brand wants to engage with its customers and is open to feedback.
Replies needn’t be elaborate – a short “thank you” for commenting, or an answer to a customer query will suffice.
4. Don’t Ignore Negative Reviews
The online world can often amplify negativity – but ignoring bad reviews is a sign of poor small business reputation management.
The longer you ignore negative reviews, the more time you give the public online time to come to conclusions about your company.
It is important to address criticism as soon as possible – but not aggressively or rudely, as that will harm your online reputation.
Whether or not the review writer has a valid reason for their negativity, brands need to reply to them with empathy and understanding, as DSW did with their customer.
Remember, a negative review doesn’t necessarily signal the end of a customer’s relationship with the brand.
This could be a marketing opportunity to offer them something of additional value that will convert them from angry customers to loyal ones.
5. Build Strong Partnerships
An important way to improve business reputation online is by building partnerships with credible websites, sources, and thought leaders.
There are numerous ways to build credibility:
- Open your brand blog for guest posts
- Guest blog for well-regarded websites
- Create a podcast and invite speakers from your industry
- Attend conferences and seminars to network with industry professionals
- Hold events – online or at physical venues – and the host thought leaders
- Start a YouTube channel with branded intros and expert interviews
The connections a business makes within the industry place them as an expert in the field and adds gravitas to their messaging – thus bolstering their brand’s reputation.
Takeaways: A Great Business Reputation is Within Your Reach
Online business reputation management can seem tricky to companies, many of which have been coasting so far, but now find themselves in the spotlight in 2020.
We have shared five tips that companies can follow when managing how customers perceive them. To recap, here are the suggestions:
- Create brand-forward collateral
- Deliver memorable customer service
- Solicit comments and reply to them
- Negative feedback should always be addressed
- Build partnerships with thought leaders
With these five steps, brands will be better able to manage their online presence and perception to get through this tumultuous year and look forward to a better 2021.