Reputation marketing is a growing marketing discipline – and one that brands cannot afford to ignore. Here’s why.
What is Reputation Marketing?
Reputation marketing is precisely what the name implies – is it marketing activity designed to improve a brand’s reputation. It is about building trust with consumers in the business itself, aside from how they feel about individual products or services.
Why is Reputation Marketing Necessary?
A brand can live or die by its reputation. When Cadbury mishandled the discovery of worms in two of its chocolate bars in India in October 2003, sales dropped by 30%, rather than enjoying their usual Diwali-led seasonal uplift of 15%.
This highlights the value of reputation marketing. Brands need to maintain good reputations in order to maintain their customer base. The total digital advertising and marketing market is projected to reach a size of US$946.9 billion by 2027 and reputation marketing will play a key role in its growth.
With information able to fly around the globe in seconds via social media, reputation marketing has become not just a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity.
Types of Content That Can Affect Your Reputation
Any content about you that is published online can impact your reputation – for good or bad. An offensive Tweet published on your corporate social media account, a negative review that is shared, an executive’s insensitive comments in the press… all of these and myriad other things can affect your reputation.
When your brand operates overseas, miscommunications due to things being lost in translation can come into play too. Neural machine translation means that your brand can engage with the world like never before.
You can use a neural machine translator to undertake reputation marketing not just in one country but as many as you wish (assuming the neural translation solution you choose covers the languages you need).
What is neural machine translation? It is the use of machine learning language translation – essentially, translation undertaken by a computer that has ‘learned’ languages in a similar way to how the human brain learns.
Neural machine translation is a far cry from early attempts at machine translation. Forget awkward phrasing and nonsensical sentences – using neural network translation means enjoying a language solution that is far more nuanced and which opens up international markets far more cost-effectively than was previously possible.
And because machine learning translation models are improving all the time, the quality of neural machine translation continues to get better and better.
Of course, whether you’re undertaking reputation marketing in a single country or conquering the world with the aid of neural machine translation, you’ll need a plan.
A reputation marketing plan can outline your goals, define the activities you will use to try and achieve them, analyze and budget for necessary resources (including personnel) and lay out how you will monitor the impact of the reputation marketing work you undertake.
Steps for Successful Reputation Marketing
If you’re ready to put your reputation marketing plan into action, follow the steps below to maximize your chances of success.
Monitor Brand Reputation
From the outset, be clear on how you plan to monitor your brand’s reputation. Otherwise, how will you know what impact your reputation marketing has?
You can monitor your brand’s reputation through social media monitoring and review monitoring tools. These will allow you to gauge how positive (or otherwise) online chatter about your brand is. You can also use a net promoter score to provide a top-level insight into how likely people are to recommend your brand.
Save a Plan for Crisis Communications
Sometimes, the worst happens. From a product recall to a rogue executive to an exposé of one of working conditions at one of your supplier’s suppliers, things can crop up despite your best efforts to operate smoothly. That is where a crisis communications plan comes into effect.
A decent, carefully thought out plan for crisis communications can be the difference between a negative situation being handled smoothly and it escalating into something far greater.
A robust plan needs to identify stakeholders and create a hierarchy of those who can share information when a crisis occurs, including those who can speak to the media. It should also include scenario planning for crises in multiple countries, if your brand operates internationally. It’s also a good idea to include a list of potential risks.
These days, crisis communications plans also need to include details of how crises should be handled on social media. More than 93,000 people watched the YouTube video of a Domino’s employee deliberately sneezing on a customer’s food before serving it. Things online can escalate fast. Your crisis communications plan is your company’s shield when they do.
Prevention of Negative Feedback
Preventing negative feedback is easiest if your brand operates in a morally upright, sustainable and caring way while also delivering value to customers. It’s about providing a great service for those who use your brand while also taking care of employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.
That said, once your business grows large enough, it becomes harder to keep everyone happy. As such, it’s important to have systems in place to prevent negative feedback. Having clear, open channels of communication and responding to issues quickly will serve you well here.
People who can express their displeasure quickly and feel listened to are far more likely to feel mollified than those who are ignored or who find it difficult to get in touch. Training your customer service team to be kind and attentive is important, as is working through dispute resolution and de-escalation techniques.
Remember, too, that negative feedback is an opportunity to learn. It’s a chance to connect with your customers and put processes in place that prevent more of them from becoming unhappy. So while it’s important to do what you can to prevent negative feedback, listening and responding when negative comments do surface can also be valuable.
Optimizing Brand Presence
Optimizing your brand presence is all about getting in front of the right audiences and saying the right things. This must be based, of course, on doing the right things. And disconnect between what a brand says and what it does will quickly come to light in this day and age, and the consequences for there being a mismatch between those two things can be dire.
Practical ways in which you can optimize your brand presence include regularly refreshing your content with relevant new material, putting effective feedback loops in place to ensure you learn from your customers’ experiences, and presenting a unified front across your website, social media channels and other marketing activities.
It’s also important to embrace new ways of connecting with your audiences while smoothing out any friction that those connections generate.
Your exciting new metaverse offering, for example, will be a pointless waste of time and money if poor implementation leads to a negative user experience. Mis-steps like that can do your reputation marketing efforts more harm than good.
Reputation marketing can do great things for your brand. Just be sure to back up your words with actions and be true to your values.