Brand image and brand reputation are sometimes mistaken for being the same thing. It’s understandable, given how a change in one could have a similar effect on the other. The difference between brand image and brand reputation is brand image is ‘customer-centric’ – the customer’s perception of the company determines brand strength. Brand reputation is ‘company-centric’ – it’s built around corporate actions and stakeholder interest. Companies want to have their image and reputation benefit from each other, but if one starts to falter, the other could follow suit. Here are five practices to uphold your brand reputation.
Ensure brand consistency
Brand consistency is crucial for managing perceptions, preventing confusion, and conveying the correct attitude. Consistency increases the chances customers will see your company as trustworthy or dependable. For example, a security company with mandated uniforms of suits and ties eases customer reservations better than a security company with no dress code. Furthermore, an advertisement by the same company showing uniformed guards protecting a home is going to put the company into the audience’s mind before a logo or slogan is seen or used.
Consistency goes beyond conveying professionalism, as it strengthens trust between consumers and companies. Marketing campaigns that focus on maintaining a basic level of brand consistency in each project are rewarded with a bond between themselves and their audience. Once consumer loyalty is built, future campaigns need only subtle reminders of the consistent brand markers (color schemes, layouts) to keep an audience engaged.
Establish and increase brand visibility
Establishing visibility is necessary for building reputation. There are a few ways to successfully accomplish this. The first way is through effective SEO practices. SEO-driven content will put your work into position to reach key audience groups and drive traffic to your website. Another way to increase brand visibility is widen the scope of company content. Writing articles for numerous publications and on different mediums gives your company’s outreach a considerable boost.
Think of visibility as a process that likely won’t help much in the short term. Everything done to increase visibility is aimed to funnel attention back to your brand. Creative engagement is crucial, as chances are you might be reaching out to audiences not normally familiar with your brand. Explore as many relevant avenues as possible to branch out and build brand visibility.
Continuous company evaluation
Take advantage of analytic evaluations to gauge production and success. The evaluations also give insight of the company to outside observers such as stakeholders. Schedule reports that will determine if your company is heading in the right direction, or if it needs to make changes. Gauge levels of inclusiveness throughout your organization periodically. Engagement is a big proponent of successful brand reputation.
Company evaluation isn’t exclusive to internal reflection, either. Reach out to audiences from time-to-time to get outsider feedback on how your brand is making people feel. New ways to get valuable feedback are created often. Most importantly, people love to be heard, so don’t think it will be difficult to obtain important insight.
Repair brand reputation
Repair brand reputation by attacking the heart of the issues. Research where the brand is lagging behind, and make changes when necessary. Stay connected with customers during the process to avoid further brand reputation damage. Analysis and reports are your best friend when searching for the reasons a brand is failing. Stay vigilant and patient as your company works to repair its reputation.
After correcting issues that led to poor brand performance, seek out ways to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Sometimes it can be tricky to determine if the failed campaign was due to something specific or a general problem. Change future projects to reflect new beginnings of your brand so that audiences feel things are different this time around.
Promote brand transparency
There are a lot of opportunities to reveal positive traits about your company to customers, but the strategy and implementation can be tricky. Create an outline before taking on the issue, and assign the right team members to handle certain efforts. For example, social media is a great way to give your company personality and voice. It also provides a chance to be open and communicative with customers. Ensure the correct team members are working to be transparent and open on social media and other mediums.
It sounds a little strange, but make sure you are transparent about your brand transparency. Inform consumers that your company is transparent about everything, or that you were in past situations. It signals to customers that in the future, you’ll be just as open with them as well.
There are so many ways to increase brand reputation, so focus in on ways to boost it without being overwhelmed. Coordinate tasks that galvanize brand reputation while staying true to company values.