How do you get customers to choose your company out of all the endless options they have? The answer is with a strong and positive reputation.
In today’s digital age, conversations about your company can occur at any time of the day. Focusing on your brand’s reputation will keep you one step ahead of your competitors and will guarantee your company’s success in the competitive markets we find ourselves in today.
But… how do you actually build brand reputation? And what are the benefits of investing in brand reputation?
What is Brand Reputation?
The definition of brand reputation is the interpretation customers have of your company based on what they see, hear, or experience firsthand. Paying attention to news articles, blog posts, and social media are all important factors that require attention to not only achieve a positive brand reputation but also maintain it.
Brand reputation is especially important for companies engaging in partner sales. If your partner isn’t a good representative of your brand, everything could be ruined. Whether a customer is typing a negative review or a customer is searching for your competitors online to make a switch, you need to take control of the company’s brand reputation to guarantee its success.
Building a business can take years. Now imagine all of that backbreaking work gone in just a few days or less because of a bad reputation rippling through your company.
Brand reputation stakeholders
Brand stakeholders are individuals who have an interest in your company’s results or outcomes. They play a crucial role in defining success and share a high interest in your company. Understanding and knowing who your stakeholders are can strengthen the brand reputation of your company while also preventing missed business opportunities that can increase more sales and lead towards your company.
Here are all the stakeholders that can impact your brand reputation:
Employees: Employees are essential company stakeholders because they interact directly with your customers. If treated as less than an essential asset, they are less likely to produce high-quality work, leading to poorer services and major losses for your company over time.
Resellers: If other people are selling your product for you, they can have a huge impact on brand perception. They will compete with you for direct sales and because they are selling so many different products, they may not care enough about your product’s reputation unless you invest the time into these teams.
Partners: Both the partners and stakeholders make commitments to achieve similar goals within the company. Not only do they contribute to your company’s business model, but they also create stable work relationships that will help surround you with power players for future business projects.
Shareholders/ Investors: Without investors or shareholders, your company will not grow. Guaranteeing them that your company will perform well keeps them tied to your company, meaning they can bring you new connections and help promote the positive image of your business.
Board of Directors: This elected group of individuals represents all of the stakeholders of your company. Having a supportive Board of Directors team that can address all the needs of your stakeholders, can successfully meet its responsibility with your company.
Customers: No business can exist without its customers. They care about the way your company performs and can choose to do business with a competitor before deciding to purchase from you.
Why Brand Reputation is Important
Generating more revenue for your company means maintaining a good reputation that will attract more consumers to your business. It is important to understand and remember that your customers care about your reputation. The pandemic has completely shifted the course for businesses resulting in many having to focus their energy on their online presence. According to a survey, 87% of consumers read online reviews in 2020, an increase from only 81% in 2019. With a simple search, consumers can read your company’s reviews, view your business website, search for other businesses (usually your competitors) to find their best option.
Benefits of brand reputation
While having an effective brand reputation may seem burdensome, there are numerous benefits to investing in reputation. A well known brand enhances your trustworthiness with customers and the marketplace. As it continues building you will notice the impact it will have on your customers when they choose to purchase from you. They want to buy from companies they can trust. No matter how cheap your competitors offer similar products, you want your customers to always choose you. If your brand exceeds or meets their expectations you will get that sale.
Brand reputation matters because it helps:
Build trust: Be honest and upfront with all of your stakeholders — especially if something goes wrong.
Gain loyalty: Having a good reputation and providing a positive experience will make your customers stay. You have to work hard at keeping them so they always come running back to you when they need something in the future. It also costs less to keep a customer than to find a new one!
Increase sales: As your brand reputation grows, you will see an increase in both sales and revenues. This can help you work towards meeting or surpassing your company’s goals.
Increase sales velocity: The more qualified leads you have, the higher the sales opportunities. Paying attention to leads that have a high chance of turning sales into revenue will bring in more profit.
Develop a competitive advantage: When a customer is left with picking you or a competitor and your brand reputation is in greater and higher standards, the customer will choose you.
Increase word of mouth: One single recommendation can have a greater impact on your company to see exponential growth. According to a survey done by Nielson, 92% of consumers trust word of mouth recommendations.
Retain employees: Your employees are your key resource and the quality of employees you have will determine the success or failure of your company. Companies that maintain a strong reputation are ten times more likely to retain talented employees.
12 ways to build brand reputation
Educate employees – Whether it is employees within your own company or employees who are reselling your products, it is critical that they know your mission, vision, values, and product offerings. Employees who understand and are aligned with your mission will prevent you from losing valuable capital.
Solve problems – Employees with effective problem solving skills will help you analyze problems that your company may come across with such as finding new customers or customer issues with a product. Being able to handle tough situations will help you make the right decisions and prevent problems from escalating.
Be transparent – 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that provides transparency. Make sure to have open communication with your customers and own up to mistakes that can arise.
Ensure customer satisfaction – Find out what your customer wants and provide a solution to their problem. Satisfied customers will attract new customers to your company meaning your sales goals will grow instead of trending downwards.
Invest in the user experience – Also known as UX, user experience is defined as having a customer-first mentality where you understand your customer and their needs to help you improve customer satisfaction. Investing time in the development of an application or product can save you lots of money and prevent you from reworking things that could have been easily fixed in the beginning. Investing in UX will give you more time to deliver fast, high-quality experiences.
Focus on customer support before, during, and after a purchase – Your customer support team will be the backbone of your company, so it is vital that they focus more on your customers than your business. They will handle all customer issues or concerns ranging from address changes, cancellations, and returns. Providing high-quality assistance will have customers coming back to you.
Be proactive – If you are not actively managing your brand’s reputation, it can quickly steer you into a crisis. Invest your time to create a proactive reputation strategy and it will put you in a position to better handle a crisis to maintain a positive reputation.
Engage in corporate social responsibility – Millennials and Gen Z’s are more inclined to favor companies that care about social issues, compared to previous generations. Corporate social responsibility will allow you to give back to communities. As a result, it will benefit you financially and attract customers to invest more in your brand.
Take responsibility – You have to take responsibility for your own reputation. Every company makes mistakes but it is important that you admit to them. Covering up your mistakes will only build mistrust with your customers. Transparency and honesty will always work in your favor.
Be a thought leader – As a thought leader, you are an expert in your expertise field and consistently show up for your customers when they need a solution to their problem. Your sales team will be well equipped to open and close deals too. This will attract more leads that can convert to customers.
Over deliver – When you overdeliver, customers receive more than they anticipated, making them feel elated. Exceeding expectations can lead to additional referrals and sales.
Ask for feedback – Invest time to engage with your company’s stakeholders and figure out what is working and what is not. Everyone will have different perspectives, making it important to be open and reflect on their feedback. Commit to change and act on the feedback to build unity and trust with your stakeholders andcustomers.
Brand reputation matters more than ever
It takes 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage done by a negative review of your company. Consumers enjoy leaving reviews online about their experiences whether good or bad. This makes maintaining a positive reputation important so potential customers can purchase from you. Reflect on all the hard work you put into creating your company. One bad review can damage the business you worked so hard to build.
Chances are there are similar brands to yours in the market right now. No business is left without competitors so it is key to differentiate yourself and stand out. What makes your company worth trying compared to a competitor with similar products or services? In these current times, customers take companies’ reputations very seriously and are quick to spread the word if something goes wrong.
One of the most overlooked parts of brand management is reseller and partner management.
If you’re a company who has agents that represent you, like an insurance office, or resell partners, ensuring they understand your brand’s mission, vision, values, and product offerings is key to success. Protecting your brand can also provide new leads and will require you to focus on the leads your company already has.
Providing personalized services with customers will build strong relationships even if they do not buy your product immediately. They may choose to purchase from you in the future because of the impression you left on them.
LeadAssign helps companies increase brand reputation by guaranteeing that a sales partner will respond to a customer’s inquiry with the best representative for the job in a matter of minutes!