Strategies for Better Brand Reputation Management

Forget the intellectual property, the star employees, and all the tech stuff for just a second – is there anything more valuable for a brand than its reputation?

The point may seem exaggerated, but when you drill down deep and run through some case studies, it should become obvious to anyone with a shred of business acumen. Reputation is everything, no matter what your company’s mission or specialty may be.

But while many business leaders understand this universal truth, they still struggle to maintain a reputation of trust and authority in their industries, even in an age with limitless PR opportunities and the never-ending press conference that is social media.

To help business leaders finally get a grip on brand reputation management, we gathered insights and opinions from brand experts with unmatched experience in the field. These tips could mean the difference between a golden reputation and a fire that can’t be extinguished, so stay tuned. business ideas

Capitalize on Content Marketing

These days, a brand’s reputation is built online, and that’s where it can be destroyed if you aren’t careful. To develop a strong foundation and build the rep you deserve, make content production a top priority for marketers on staff.

“White papers, a company blog, contributed articles and industry research reports are examples of content marketing’s role in brand reputation management,” said Mike Santoro, CEO of Walker Sands. “Producing lead-generating content across an array of channels raises awareness about your brand and benefits of your products. By positioning your company as an informative industry source on topics your audience is interested in, you will gain more website visitors and potential customers.”

Reputation isn’t just created with the written word, however. Content marketing must also encompass digital assets ranging from video and audio to interactive experiences.

“You’ll notice that the world’s biggest brands are investing heavily into next-gen multimedia content for their websites and social pages,” said Riley Burke, Growth Marketing Manager at Ohza. “Blogs are great and they drive traffic, but in terms of really elevating a company’s reputation, it’s all about attractive visuals and experiences for customers when they interface with your brand. This is the new frontier for content marketing that goes beyond words and into the realm of immersive multimedia.”

What is the perfect content marketing mix to improve a brand reputation? Consistency appears to be the main ingredient for successful brands.

“Nothing can damage a brand rep online quicker than abandoning a campaign or just not delivering on content,” said Michael Hennessy, Founder and CEO of Diathrive. “That’s a big red flag from an audience standpoint. They’ll start to ask questions and wonder if something is wrong. Be consistent with your content and the rest will handle itself.”

Master Social Media Communications

If there is one central arena for brand reputation management in 2022, it’s on social media. Make sure your brand has a strong presence on the major platforms and knows how to navigate situations in a tactful, strategic way.

“It’s glaringly obvious when a brand has no idea how to use social media, and that’s an instant blow to the company’s reputation at this point,” said Georgia Dorfman, CEO of All My Love. “I don’t care if you need to outsource your social media management or hire a consultant to catch up – there’s no excuse to be behind the times. Social media may seem inconsequential for established brands, but in the new world of brand reputation management, it’s vital.”

Not only should a brand be posting and pushing campaigns regularly on social media, but engaging with audiences as well. This is how you take a mediocre brand reputation to the next level, and earn the trust and support of the masses online.

“Many brands confuse a good reputation with clean-cut professionalism and distance from the audience,” said Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce at La Blanca. “That isn’t really the case anymore, especially for brands focused on fun, exciting emotions. This is why you’ll see food and clothing companies engaged in dialogue with each other and with customers on social media. That would have been unthinkable last century, but now it’s the norm. Audiences expect that from brands they like, so don’t hide in plain sight on social media.”

Of course, there’s a limit to how a brand should behave on social media. If it’s not your brand style to be edgy and eccentric online, don’t push it.

“There’s definitely an epidemic of companies trying too hard to be something they’re not online, and modern audiences can identify fakeness from miles away,” said Rob Bartlett, CEO of WTFast. “Sometimes it’s better to just say nothing at all rather than share irrelevant opinions or be involved in drama. Social media is an opportunity for your brand to shine, so don’t get stuck in the mud.”

Use Media Connections to Your Advantage

While many attention spans have been shortened by social media, legacy media sources like news outlets and online magazines are still highly relevant for brand reputation management.

“Get into the guest posting game if you haven’t yet, because that is a high-trust move that establishes authority and good will in an industry,” said Zach Letter, CEO of Wonder Works Studio. “Plus, it never hurts to have more content circulating online that will drive more traffic to your site. Google recognizes factors like backlinks and authority in their algorithm, which directly translates to reputation in quantitative terms. Let that be your guide.”

Beyond your industry, linking up with a journalist or two can help you get a “big break” story that changes the trajectory of your brand and boosts reputation in an instant.

“Business news is a huge element of the media, and people are eager to know about up-and-coming brands,” said Melissa Rhodes, CEO of Psychics 1on1. “This is your chance to position your brand in the right place, at the right time, and potentially get a big increase to your reputation overnight. An initiative like this takes planning and a bit of luck, but if your business is ready for the spotlight, it can only help you rise to the top.”

Never Overlook User Feedback

The web is filled with user feedback, and this plays a major role in the art of brand reputation management. While individual pieces of feedback might seem insignificant, collecting large amounts of data can reveal valuable trends and insights for your business.

“With a brand that is based around online reviews, reputation management is a core theme of our business,” said Levi Olmstead, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Whatfix. “We value transparent feedback from our customers and want to see the negative comments. We make sure to monitor all our review sites, drive reviews, and monitor brand, competitor, and brand-related keywords across all social channels, media outlets, and blogs.”

Despite having access to so much feedback online, many companies don’t make an effort to gather, sort, and utilize this info. The result is a brand that seems out of touch and two steps behind – not good stuff for a reputation.

“If you see the same complaints again and again online, it’s not a fluke or a mistake,” said Breanne Millette, CEO of Bisoulovely. “You’d be astonished at how many longstanding brands just totally ignore customer feedback and push forward with their agenda like nothing is wrong. They’re able to scrape some profits in the short-term, but before long, their reputation is tarnished and they can’t get that momentum back without a total overhaul. The lesson here is to actually follow through when applying feedback instead of just gathering it in a dusty file cabinet.”

With so many affordable and intuitive technologies to gather and leverage feedback nowadays, companies are out of excuses and must take this project seriously.

Be Prepared to Handle a Crisis

It’s not something we like to think about as entrepreneurs or employees, but a brand reputation crisis can happen in a flash, especially now that info spreads like wildfire online.

“A reputation crisis can take many forms, whether it has to do with executive scandals, employee relations, or unhappy customers,” said Haim Medine, Creative Director of Mark Henry Jewelry. “Have a plan in place to address every possible scenario, even if you’re confident that nothing of the sort could happen. This will inspire you to raise standards of operation across your business and come out the other side of a crisis looking squeaky clean. Brands that don’t prepare are the ones that get trampled on social media and in the news.”

Not every crisis needs to be discussed publicly or draw attention in the spotlight. The best brand reputation experts know that when there’s bad news, it’s all about diversion, deflection, and downplaying the severity of the situation.

“The nature of the media and people, in general, is to hype things up and generate drama where none exists,” said Ben Hyman, CEO of Revival. “PR professionals excel at moving the conversation along and minimizing the issues at hand. The key is to reinforce the good aspects of the situation and spin the story so that customers won’t think twice about resuming business with your company. Every brand will encounter challenges, but the best ones know that the show must go on.”

Brand reputations take years to build and can vanish in the blink of an eye, or simply corrode over time. These tips will help ensure your brand maintains a shining reputation no matter what happens in the real world or online.