If you do any type of marketing for a brand, you’ve probably been asked to calculate the earned media value (or EMV) of your efforts. While EMV is...
How to Build a Better Brand Reputation
If your brand's reputation could use some work, don't panic — this is solvable! Try these ideas to build a better brand reputation, pronto.
A good brand reputation will make you more trusted, more referred and more profitable — and a bad reputation will do the opposite. So what happens when you evaluate your brand reputation and determine it could use a little work? Step one is to not panic — there are solutions to help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be, from improving customer communication to leveraging social proof in your favor. We’ve laid out our top strategies for building up your brand reputation, below.
Maintain Clear Communication Channels
No one wants to fight to find your customer service line just to initiate a simple return or get help with a problem. Consumers with complaints who can’t find your contact information are only going to get more irate. Similarly, a content creator who loves your products or services and really wants to collaborate might give up when faced with communication roadblocks.
An oft-overlooked aspect of building a better brand reputation is maintaining clear, user-friendly channels for communication. Knowing that they have a way to contact you if they need assistance can reassure consumers that your brand is reliable and cares deeply about their experience.
If consumers find you approachable and easy to reach out to, they’ll award you more brand trust, which in turn builds your brand reputation.
Listen to Customer Feedback
Listening to your customers is a crucial part of improving your brand reputation. Now that you’ve ensured all your communication channels are clear and accessible, it’s time to actually monitor them and respond to feedback.
This tip is twofold: on the one hand, intaking customer feedback is an excellent way to keep tabs on your public-facing brand reputation. You should be able to get a clear idea of how consumers feel about your brand based on the communications, comments and reviews you receive. How they talk about your brand to you is likely how they'll talk about your brand to others.
Monitor these spaces consistently so you can always catch any areas needing improvement, be it product feedback, packaging issues, shipping complaints and more.
Second, you’ll want to respond appropriately to the feedback you’re receiving, especially when it’s negative. Whether it’s a negative comment left on your latest Instagram post or a concerned email wondering where their package is, handling customer issues with grace shows your customers that you’re listening to them and are ready and willing to do what it takes to improve their experience.
This tip applies to positive feedback, too! If your customers are commenting on your posts about how much they love a certain product line, take that into heavy consideration before deciding to discontinue it. Even just replying to complimentary comments or emails with a quick “Thank you so much!” can make a world of difference in showing your customers how much you appreciate and value them.
Practice What You Preach
This is pretty straightforward — be upfront and honest with consumers about your brand’s values. Consumers will know if you’re cutting any corners value-wise. For instance, if your brand claims to be eco-friendly but your products ship wrapped in seven layers of plastic, your brand reputation could take a hit for it.
Bottomline, be sure your claims are backed up by your brand's actions.
Similarly, talk up any reputable things you do that align with your mission and vision. Showing off these values and actions can help to bolster your reputation.
Maybe this looks like having a dedicated website page explaining your environmental efforts, plus being vocal about it on social media. Or it could look like supporting specific charitable causes that correlate with your products or brand story. If your brand is doing something awesome, talk about it!
Get a Boost from Consumers
While the above strategies put reputation management into the hands of the brands themselves, it’s also important to consider how heavily brands depend on consumers to shape their reputations. Brands can either fail or thrive in the court of public (or these days, online) opinion. When consumers have good experiences with your brand, it’s key to highlight them and collect as many of them as possible, especially when you consider that consumers are more trusted than brands.
The strategies below will help you do just that.
Product reviews are incredibly important to consumers, with 85% of them reading up to 10 reviews before deciding on a business’s trustworthiness. A brand or product lacking in reviews isn’t likely to result in as many sales, but how do you get consumers to leave reviews in the first place?
Many brands incentivize reviews in different ways. If you have a points-based loyalty system set up, offer a few extra points for reviewing previous purchases. You can also set up an influencer marketing campaign that exchanges free products for honest reviews.
Pro tip: if you sell your products at another online retailer, embed reviews from that site onto your own to make those testimonials do double duty.
Collect User-Generated Content
To really get your brand reputation off the ground, start collecting user-generated content. Seeing other people using and enjoying your product can help shape the way your brand is perceived. This goes back to a phenomenon known as social proof, which can even influence purchase behavior.
There are any number of ways to kickstart a UGC campaign, from asking customers to submit photos in your post-purchase emails to partnering with content creators. An even longer-term solution might be to start an ambassador program so you can keep your favorite creators around for the long haul, or start a product seeding campaign to gather UGC from a variety of sources.
You might also take the Aerie approach and incentivize hashtag use — customers posting unretouched photos under the #AerieREAL tag have a chance to be featured by the major retailer.
In 2021, they even took it a step further and donated $1 for every photo posted to the National Eating Disorder Association, up to $100k.
UGC campaigns provide a unique opportunity to connect to your consumers’ values and interests while gaining something valuable in return — a well-rounded UGC collection. Just make sure you’re obtaining all necessary legal permissions to use this content!
Repurpose that UGC — Yes, Everywhere
Now that you have your user-generated content library, it’s time to put it to work! The first step is generally to intersperse this imagery on your social media profiles. Since your marketing team won’t have to create quite as much content, you’ll be saving time, money and effort from the jump.
Consumers actually prefer seeing UGC over brand-created visuals anyway, so you’ll be giving the people what they want in the process!
Don’t stop there, however — UGC is at its most effective when sprinkled throughout your entire marketing funnel. You want consumers to be reminded of that social proof at every step in the buyer’s journey if possible, so add it to your website’s home page, to specific product pages, use it in your email marketing, even repurpose it as a paid ad to maximize its effectiveness.
It’s worth noting that obtaining creator permission to repurpose content on your Instagram page versus as a paid ad are two very different things and may come with different rates and terms, so be sure to communicate your intentions upfront or ask for additional permissions later on if you do decide to repurpose their content in a way that wasn't initially discussed.
Many of the strategies to build your brand’s reputation involve content creators, but sometimes brands shy away from these partnerships due to the time and effort involved. Statusphere was founded to solve that problem: we loop in our reliable, vetted network of creators to post about your product, and we handle all the logistics for you, from targeting to shipping to tallying the results. Ready to take creator campaigns off your plate? Chat with our consumer-to-consumer marketing experts today and let us help you build a better brand reputation.