Building Brand Reputation – Part 4

Your brand reputation is a critical component of your brand strategy and has a direct effect on the success or failure of your brand. Companies must invest time and money into defining, developing, and monitoring brand reputations as you’ve learned in earlier parts of the Building Brand Reputation series. However, protecting and defending your brand reputation are equally important. That’s the topic of the final part of the series, so keep reading to get all the details.

brand reputationBrand Reputation Protection

It might seem like consumers, investors, vendors, suppliers, employees, and every other stakeholder you can think of are waiting with pitchforks in hand for brands to make a mistake. The truth is that stakeholders are ready to hold companies accountable if they fail to live up to their brand promises. Today, they have the tools and access to large audiences that make it easy for them to point out mistakes that tarnish a brand reputation. Those tools and audiences can be found on the social web, and that’s one of the most important places where brands need to work to protect and defend their reputations.

Keep in mind, a positive brand reputation doesn’t just affect consumer perceptions of the brand and sales. It also affects the talent a company can hire, the investment recommendations of financial analysts, and the risk considerations of suppliers. In other words, brand reputation affects all aspects of a business, and the company needs to prioritize protecting and defending that reputation accordingly.

Paris hilton pink bentleyRemember when Bentley objected to Paris Hilton driving her pink Bentley Continental GT or when Abercrombie and Fitch asked Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of the Jersey Shore to stop wearing the brand’s clothing? Both brands were acting in an effort to protect their reputations, which did not match the reputations of the celebrities using their branded products.

In other words, protecting your brand reputation should permeate into all aspects of your business and every employee should view it as a top priority. Some brand reputation defensive measures might be done behind the scenes while others could be forward facing like the Bentley and Abercrombie and Fitch examples above.

Brand Reputation Defense

At the same time, a great deal of brand reputation protection and defense should happen on the social web through the strategic publishing of content and joining conversations as necessary to nudge them in the ‘right’ direction.

When you uncover problems, take corrective action immediately. It’s important to have a plan in place to respond to negative attacks on your brand reputation online. You also need to be able to evaluate negative attacks. Some might warrant intervention while others might uncover a deeper problem in your brand promise or company that needs to be fixed. Brand reputation can directly affect brand equity, so you need to have the right monitoring in place as well as strategic responses prepared to protect that valuable brand equity.

At the same time, recognize positive online comments and conversations about your brand to help raise awareness and spread the word about your positive reputation. It’s easy to react and respond to negative comments about your brand, but positive comments aren’t always given the attention they deserve. Nurture positive brand reputation conversations to give them a longer life as well as the opportunity to touch larger audiences.

If you missed earlier parts of the Building Brand Reputation series, follow the links below to read them now:

Image: Constantin Deaconescu, carbeedpict

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.