What is a brand reputation audit for?
A brand reputation audit is an important regular exercise. It helps to identify brand perception, and steps needed to improve sentiment. However, it’s not meant to be a theoretical tool. Above all, a brand reputation audit:
- Gathers performance data and tracks patterns
- Helps understand the market and identifies opportunities and threats
- Creates action points to reach goals and impact the bottom line
- Is a strategic tool
Importantly, “audits are more reliable than surveys and focus groups because they use unfiltered opinions from a brand’s audience,” says Jeff Bullas. In short, here are three important areas that should be included in every single brand reputation audit:
Above all, conduct a brand reputation audit for both online and offline channels. Customers and potential customers speak about the brand independently. Consequently this word of mouth impacts the potential/customer base. It also impacts perception of the brand. As a result it’s not enough to assess traditional channels alone. Social media is contributing to those dollars and cents! Above all, always conduct a social listening exercise that tracks mentions, sentiment and trends. This is a key part of every brand reputation audit.
How is your brand faring in relation to its competition? What are the challenges on the market? Have you identified the pain points that customers repeatedly bring up about your product, service and sector? Currently, what are the norms? Can you identify what the market leaders doing and what can the brand learn from them? Where are there potential new audience groups?
A thorough competitor analysis helps to understand the market deeper. It exposes reputational threats, and provides insights into potential opportunities the brand can take advantage of. You can’t understand your brand without understanding the environment it’s operating in. Every environment is dynamic. Therefore, a competitor analysis should be included in every audit.
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the combination of practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyse customer interactions and data (TechTarget, 2020). CRM is an important part of conducting a brand reputation audit. This is because it analyses the relationship customers have with the brand. What positive and negative reinforcements are repeatedly share about price, quality and services? Are certain complaints being repeatedly made? Reputational risk grows when there is a gap between customer expectations and what the brand delivers.
As you examine customer interactions, identify problems with business processes. Drill down insights that show whether products, positioning or content need to change.
Stephanie Taderera is a Content Executive at Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants. To learn more about how we can help your brand’s reputation, contact us today.