When it comes to making a purchase, some of us take into account cost, whilst others focus on quality. However, for the majority of us, it always comes down to who we know, who we trust and who we feel a sense of loyalty to – those brands that have built a reputation and a relationship with us. This type of marketing supports brands in standing out from the competition in the long run and it’s for that reason that building and maintaining your business’ reputation is increasingly important.
In the past businesses have focused purely on the bottom line, but in this day and age that would be a very short-sighted strategy. A holistic approach, taking into account the fact that revenue and reputation work hand-in-hand, is vital. Examples of brands that have got it right include Google, Disney and Apple.
It’s important to note, that in this day and age there’s no faking it. Brands are forced to be increasingly honest with their audience and their employees as the internet has opened up a new level of transparency, with endless amounts of information available regarding every company.
2015 saw several scandals which damaged brands’ reputations and inevitably their revenues. For example, the Volkswagen scandal of cheating emissions tests, causing consumers to lose trust in the brand, taking a huge hit to their profitability, with over $4.8 billion having to be set aside for an internal enquiry to attempt to regain trust. The manufacturer’s shares have expectedly also taken a turn for the worse, falling by a third. And it’s not just your business that you to evaluate. By partnering or being associated with businesses with questionable values, you could leave yourself at risk. Simply look at how Fifa’s scandal has affected Nike.
But don’t stress! One of the best things about the current emphasis on brand reputation is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot. It’s simply about your values as a company and demonstrating them internally and externally in everything you do. It may mean more time or money spent to ensure quality, but in the end it will multiply your marketing and sales efforts, as your customers and employees become advocates for your business. A great example of this is the employee perks Google is renowned for, including unique offices, free food, sports facilities etc. which make us think of the company as not only a great place to work, but a brand to trust.
Want proof of how much brand reputation means these days? Facebook. YouTube. These brands became renowned and used by millions across the world but had little income. Because of the brand reputation, these businesses were considered to be worth millions despite their revenue.
Tips for improving your brand reputation:
- Be proactive – rather than waiting for customer complaints and reacting to them, continually analyse every aspect of your business, including its values, services, products so that you can proactively develop and adapt to exceed expectations and build a lasting relationship with your customers.
- Corporate Social Responsibility – Implementing a CSR programme, providing ongoing support to charities, not only enhances your reputation, but also improves team morale. Real Business offer great advice on implementing a CSR programme for your business.
- Social media – show the people and culture behind your brand. Demonstrate authenticity and build trust. Engage with the community. Give people a reason to trust you by sharing solutions or answers that are useful to your audience. Find out how you can give your brand a personality.