This post will give you a brief about Brand Reputation:
- What exactly is Brand Reputation, and, how the term is easily misunderstood
- Importance of Brand Reputation for any business
- How your customers play vital role in Brand Reputation
- Investing in Brand Reputation
- Managing Brand Reputation
The times of world-wide conglomerates and cut-throat monopolists are slipping into oblivion. Today’s market is a highly-competitive field, where long-established companies have to perform almost on the same terms with indie brands and startups. The institution of brand reputation is at the same time the reason and the consequence of this field leveling.
On the one hand, modern consumers have a wide range of goods and services to choose from. But at the same time, people become more selective in their consumption habits and see every purchase as an investment into the brand itself.
If you look at a brand reputation as a combined perception of customers, stakeholders, and competitors towards a certain brand, today those matters become interchangeable. Customers often see themselves as investors in a brand and its policies. Stakeholders and employees take a more personal approach, evaluating the impact a brand has on them and the local community. Competitors, related brands, and even whole industries prefer collaboration to disengagement today. They play important role in each other’s development and establishment on the market.
That is why brand reputation is not an exclusive term that determines the performance and success of a separate company on the market. It is more of a collective term that may cause approval, support, or revulsion towards whole industries. Once-failing in this matter, a brand may cause a chain reaction on the market that can undermine customers` credibility to the whole market segment, stalling its development.
This is the main difference between brand reputation and branding, which is a more narrow and even personal term. Unlike reputation, branding is a controlled process that can be leveled and adjusted at any point from within the organization. It is the surrounding that forms a brand’s reputation, the way that competitors and consumers see it. In other words, branding makes a company relevant on the market, while reputation makes it and the whole market segment credible.
Brand reputation in a section
When we talk of brand reputation, many marketers tend to make the same mistake as they do once confusing between branding and reputation. The overall process of brand reputation build-up consists of two parts:
- Direct Marketing
- Branding Marketing
The establishment of brand reputation becomes such a complex problem mostly because both matters are equally important, but set almost opposed goals.
Direct marketing is a relatively simple and transparent process that allows evaluation of the efficiency of every campaign right away. Direct marketing addresses the prosperous consumer himself, designing an environment that leads to immediate action. Those are all those CTA (Call To Action) emails, social media posts, or landing pages that encourage a viewer to buy, subscribe or download something right away. The best feature of Direct Marketing is its measurability. It makes a brand look accessible and engages a prosperous customer into conversation. At the same time, it is easy to track customer’s engagement and attitude.
Unlike Direct Marketing that aims at a measurable short-term effect, Brand Marketing creates awareness and affinity with a certain brand or product. In other words, once you see your favorite celebrity drinking a particular beverage in a movie, you won`t exit the cinema and go buy the drink right away. However, next time you are shopping for groceries, the fact that you saw a particular bottle or can in a movie encourages you to prefer it over competitors.
Technically, both direct marketing and Brand Marketing create customer`s demand for a particular product or service. These two concepts support each other once they influence the purchase decision. The overall impression of the brand created by Brand Marketing makes the Direct CTA strategy more efficient. Together those factors create a brand`s reputation.
Why is Brand Reputation so Important?
As we said earlier, many companies make a grave mistake, confusing between branding and brand reputation. Let’s take a closer look at the significance of brand reputation and see why the most thought-through branding strategy will turn into a waste of money and resources once it does not take the reputation aspect into account.
Trust and Credibility
Modern customers have access to a wide range of analog products. That is why making the purchase decision more and more of them take a wider look today. They consider the overall behavior of the brand and the method it uses to gain their trust. And unlike several years ago when customers were pretty reluctant towards novelties in the market, the modern development of communication and independent mass media can make a new brand look more credible and trustworthy than its well-established competitor.
Sales Boost and Collapse
The importance of brand reputation is most visible in the sales. Modern history knows many examples of how famous and allegedly credible brands faced sales collapse and devastation due to reputation issues. The most popular examples come from the fashion and beauty industries, where sales may collapse in a fortnight due to manufacture or labor policy scandals.
Brand reputation is mostly built and managed by customer’s loyalty. With the endless opportunities offered by the free market, an average customer expects from a brand a certain effort that will ensure his loyalty. And this effort, personal approach, and exclusive offers create a brand reputation in customer’s eyes.
Brand reputation becomes crucial matter ones it comes to development. Every person who puts his money into the company, whether it is an investor or a consumer, automatically associates himself and his performance with the policies and reputation of a certain brand. In this matter, the brand reputation determines whether it will develop at all.
Reputation and Competition
A Brand Reputation has a powerful psychological effect on the competitors. It may either disarm them, forcing them to revise launching a new product or not enter the given market segment at all, or give a strong advantage and promotion tool. The modern market is a highly competitive field. It is not only the way that customers see a brand that matters but the way that competitors look at it.
Customers and Brand Reputation
Of course, all the manipulations with brand reputation, its development, and improvement are all aimed at customers. Those are customers who make the purchase, recommend a brand to their friends and family or condemn it on social media.
Customers, their engagement, and the money they are ready to pay for a brand`s product are the measures that determine the overall success.
Let’s take a look at the main customer-related marketing terms and see how they are incorporated with a brand reputation.
Customer Lifetime Value
(CLV) – Customer Lifetime Value is the amount of money a customer spends on a certain product or service throughout the whole relationship with the brand. However, this does not mean that if a customer spends $10 per month during the year, the CLV will be $120. The final CLV depends on another important matter – Customer Acquisition Cost.
Customer Acquisition Cost
(CAC) – Customer Acquisition Cost is the money a brand has to spend on converting a potential customer into an active one. In other words, those are the money spend on marketing tools that persuade a customer to make the purchase. It may roughly be compared to another marketing term –CPA (Cost Per Action). However, unlike CPA, which focuses on a given campaign, CAC observes the costs of all marketing actions a brand had to take.
Of course, Brand Reputation is a decisive factor in the terms of CAC. The more reputable and trustworthy a brand is, the less money and effort it has to spend on making the sales. The math is pretty easy here: the smaller the CAC provides a higher CLV rate. And this is the direct impact of Brand Reputation on its revenue and success.
Investing in Brand Reputation
Once reputation seems to be an entirely external factor that can be influenced, but not controlled, it is quite natural that many companies question whether there are a way and point in investing in Reputation.
To answer this question, we may just remind you that at least 25% of any brand`s market value depends on its reputation. This along looks like a solid reason to invest in the reputation feature. And due to the direct influence of reputation on sales and revenue, reputation investment becomes a key matter for brand development.
With the global market digitalization, brands have obtained a new powerful tool that helps them to build and maintain a reputation. Through active online presence and quality storytelling, brand reputation becomes more manageable. It consists of two parts:
- Reviews about a service or product
- Brand`s engagement in communication with customers
Those are two features that a potential customer checks today before committing to a brand. 93% of customers see reviews and a brand`s willingness to communicate directly as indicators that determine its reputation.
Managing Brand Reputation
Even though a brand can invest in its reputation, it cannot be entirely bought. However, reputation can be earned and managed.
The development of modern communication technologies and innovative digital marketing tools allow brands to react to customer`s moods instantly, managing and shaping the opinions. However, Brand Reputation Management is not only a situative action but a long chain of activities spread throughout a brand`s whole lifespan.
Let`s have a general overview of those activities that help to build and maintain Brand Reputation.
Content Marketing and Storytelling
The main reputation investment stream, an online presence is an ultimate guideline for a modern customer that determines attitude towards a brand.
Reputational Storytelling consists of two main parts:
- Reviews and blogs that inform about a product and reveal its benefits;
- E-books, infographics, tutorials, and other content that demonstrates the value of the product and the brand itself.
Brand reputation is an external factor, formed by customers. However, it does not mean that a brand cannot create a positive climate for its development.
The overall brand reputation is a result of every customer`s personal experience with it. Statistically, the rule is pretty simple: a satisfied customer will recommend a product to about five acquaintances. A disappointed one will make sure to spread the word among at least 20 people. With the development of communication technologies and social media, those numbers have increased exponentially.
Even if a customer had a negative experience with a brand, it still has a powerful reputational tool – customer support. By providing comprehensive consultations, refuting issues, or offering compensating and beneficial solutions, brands manage to preserve and enhance their reputation even in case of failure.
Some of the leading tools for customer support includes:
Collecting and Analyzing Data
Sometimes the best way to preserve and maintain brand reputation is to simply listen carefully to customers` opinions. Various social media networks, feedback channels, and surveys allow brands to collect all the necessary data and react accordingly with a minimum investment in the research and strategy development. Modern customers are willing to talk and want to be heard directly. They appreciate an option to address directly to a brand and always see replies at feedback as a personal approach, so important for building mutual trust between a brand and its target auditorium.
Some may consider Reputation a term from romantic novels and high-society peripetia that has nothing to do with the pragmatic business world. However, Brand Reputation is gaining new meaning in the modern market. Due to the development of the Conscious Consumption trend, modern customers see every purchase as an investment into a brand`s policy. The reputation of a particular brand becomes a part of their reputation and image. Except for the direct communication with the customer and market representation, brand reputation depends on the inner policy of each brand and the overall perception of the industry, its significance, and impacts.
However, it is wrong to say that Brand Reputation is some kind of a sword of Damocles that can restrict its development and expression. Brand Reputation is a powerful tool that helps to indicate the moods on the market, analyze competitor’s actions and work out a strategy that will be sustainable enough to generate revenue without excessive effort and investments.