In reputation management, we talk a lot about what brands should be doing. However, if you’ve been implementing activities, how do you know if the strategy is doing well? We’re coming to the end of a year that’s been for the history books. Yet while events and circumstances change, the basic principles of building a strong reputation don\’t. Customers still want value, clear communication, effective resolution of queries, consistency and so on. What changes in extraordinary times, is the day to day to achieve the principle. As you assess this year’s activities and plan for 2021, here are 6 key signs that your reputation management strategy is working.
An engaged community is growing.
When an engaged community is growing around the brand, that’s a good sign your online reputation management strategy is going well. When your brand shares content, people are engaging- and your brand is engaging back with them! The conversation flows between brand and customer consistently, and the quality of the responses is consistent too.
Your customers are your cheerleaders.
Your brand\’s reputation management activities are working well when your customers become your cheerleaders. When people are talking about the brand, pay attention to what they are saying. If they are not talking about the brand, pay attention to that too. You want to be associated with themes and issues that are relevant to the organisation’s strategy.
Your content has an identity.
Your brand has a style and approach, including a clear tone of voice and messaging. When the brand responds to customers, the responses sound human- not like a content robot. Your customers know what the brand’s content looks and sounds like, and what makes it unique. All parties that create content and responses on the brand’s platform are also adhering to the tone and identity of brand messaging.
You have mastered review responses.
In the age of social media, it is inevitable that customers will review brands. The reviews can be either positive or negative. Therefore, when a brand\’s reputation management strategy is strong, it\’s evident in how it responds to reviews. All responses will adhere to the brand’s identity, they will be polite, and they will act as customer service interactions. This means that review responses should help move the customer towards resolution of their query or complaint if the review is negative. If the review is positive, responses should provide customers with positive reinforcement for their support.
Your brand is offering customers tailored solutions
A sign of positive reputation management is when a brand offers different levels of products and services to accommodate customer needs. Customers build positive sentiment around brands that are flexible to tailor customer experience to them. A brand can\’t be all things to all people, but so many local brands are very traditional and rigid. It can be a real struggle to evolve operations so that flexibility is possible, but it\’s worth it. Then once the brand offers that flexibility, ensure quality is consistent.
You are attracting quality candidates
A strong reputation doesn\’t just attract loyal customers and fans; it also attracts people who want to be a part of your work. Talented professionals want to be associated with a brand that is highly regarded, and that\’s an often overlooked barometer for performance. When a brand\’s reputation is good, professionals often make speculative applications to the brand. Conversely, when its reputation is poor, the brand can find itself struggling to recruit a high calibre of candidate for open positions.
As you plan for 2021, start by completing a brand reputation audit. This is an exercise that should be completed annually, and even an unusual year can unearth insights that were flying below the radar previously. What kind of reputation management activities did your brand carry out in 2020? Look for insights and then dig deeper into trends. Can you correlate any effects to an activity, such as a boost in sales or an influx of negative feedback? We can\’t predict how the Covid-19 pandemic will unfold in 2021, but we can still take some of this year\’s insights and use them to prepare aspects of a brand and business. Here’s to the new year ahead!