A business reputation is one that is hard won, but can be lost in a matter of minutes, especially in today’s digital world where consumers are constantly connected. One wrong move online and your brand can take a serious hit.
A misinformed social post can reach the eyes of millions of people instantly, and even if you delete it, there is a high chance that someone, somewhere, will have saved your error. However, if you get your brand identity right, and create and nurture a positive reputation, you will reap that success for many years. How exactly can you do it?
The key elements of building a positive reputation
There is a degree of risk involved when creating a brand identity—after all, you can’t predict how your target audience will perceive your message. The language you choose to use may be detrimental to your success if it’s considered archaic or out of touch with the current political or social climate. Likewise, if the imaging or brand messaging is dated, this can directly affect how potential consumers react. There are key elements to consider, however, that can contribute towards your brand’s reputation:
Honesty and transparency
Consumers value the depth of honesty a brand displays. It goes much further than being truthful about a product, although this is still an important factor. After all, a business that claims their service will deliver certain results will damage their reputation if, repeatedly, they fail.
Brands now need to be transparent about how they use consumer data, especially with the recent implementation of GDPR. The most important part of GDPR is, unmistakably, compliance, which involves being transparent with data collection and actively seeking consent from every customer. Should customers (not to mention the regulatory commission) discover your business is uncompliant with how you store and use their data, the fine can be hefty, and the hit to your reputation devastating.
With the ever-evolving and developing culture we have, a brand that fails to keep up can see their reputation take a hit. It’s for this reason why, when building your business identity, you take into account trends and social factors. A brand that is environmentally friendly and driven to find sustainable practices is more celebrated than one refusing to adapt their business. Furthermore, a brand that doesn’t respond to economic changes positively and quickly can see their sales decline, simply because they didn’t react in time. In an economic downturn, a brand that reacts by increasing prices (especially without warning clients first) will not inspire loyalty, meaning their reputation as a fair, reliable business may suddenly disappear.
How you communicate
There are certain examples of businesses becoming worldwide sensations because of how they communicate with their audience. One such example is Tesco Mobile in the UK—the brand’s sarcastic, witty replies to customers on social media gained them much praise. How they responded to the criticism of their service is something to learn from. Rather than groveling to unhappy customers or becoming irate and defensive, they saw the opportunity to have fun and reply individually to each comment with a similar ‘savage’ response.
A key step in creating a brand identity is discovering the tone of voice for your brand. A business that deals primarily in B2B will need a different approach to communicating with their clients than a fashionable clothing brand for millennials. It’s understanding and knowing this fine balance between fun, fiery, informal language, and professional, technical messaging that can build a positive relationship and reputation. When you understand your target audience, you can tailor your communication effectively, to one which they are more likely to receive well.
Building a positive reputation will not happen overnight. When you consider the years worldwide household names have been developing and nurturing their brand identity and reputation, it stands to reason that only through carefully considering every aspect of your business can you begin to build something outstanding which will grow for many years.
However, reputations can be shattered in a matter of moments, and even global names have suffered major setbacks due to errors, such as the controversy with Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner advert. It’s vital for any brand, regardless of size and industry, that they make it a priority to protect their reputation and work continuously to improve it, taking into various factors. It’s not impossible, though, to create a winning formula.