No Crisis Here: 5 Best Practices for Brand Reputation Marketing

Managing your brand’s reputation takes more than crisis management—it takes reputation marketing. While there’s no doubt an adroit response to a defamatory review or snarky Tweet can work to your advantage, why not let your marketing strategy proactively influence customers’ perception of your brand? Here, we take a closer look at how you can put the power of reputation marketing to work for your company.

Reputation: Customers Make It or Break It, but You Can Shape It
What impacts your brand’s reputation in the marketplace? Maybe the better question is, “what doesn’t?” At a high level, it’s what your customers say. And in today’s digital world, they are most certainly talking. Your prospective customers, employees, and business partners (and let’s face it, everybody else) are listening—and responding accordingly. That’s why you need to help shape the conversation.

You simply can’t control what others are saying about your brand, good or bad. But if want to ensure that what you’re putting out there for your customers to consume makes you look trustworthy, knowledgeable, and—yes—reputable, then consider putting these best practices into play:

1. Adopt a Reputation Marketing Mindset
In brand reputation management, you think damage control; in brand reputation marketing, you think attract, influence, and inspire. Make the decision to actively deliver content and experiences that represent your values, and speak to customers in a way that encourages trust. Treat your online presence, in particular, as a living, breathing, dynamic entity that’s always communicating with customers and prospects. This helps you remain proactive—not reactive—in a consumer marketplace where almost anything can happen!

2. Prioritize the Customer Experience
A customer’s experience with your company is what shapes what they say about your company—and what they say has a powerful influence over others’ perceptions and behaviors, from what they think to what they purchase. Some points to ponder:

• What do your customers expect in the first place? You need to know what support they need at each stage of their customer journey so you can deliver satisfying interactions and ongoing engagement. This includes paying attention to off-site digital touch-points like social media channels and review sites.

• Is your website useful and relevant? The hub of your digital presence, your site should be Google-friendly and offer helpful content that raises awareness about your brand, promotes interest in your solutions, and generates and converts leads. Each visitor-turned-customer can be a terrific advocate for your brand!

• Do employees put customers first? It doesn’t matter if you’re in a B2B or B2C market: customer service matters. That means help should always be a phone call, email, or chat message away.

For more insights, explore:
How Direct Response Marketing Can Keep Up With Customers’ Liquid Expectations
What Your Social Media Activity Is Saying About Your Brand

3. Take Control of Your Listings
According to Edelman, 65% of people see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies—a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source. Directory listings are an important way to “get found” today, so take some time to make sure your company is represented and that your details are accurate.

Some popular directories are Google, Yelp, Facebook, YP.com, CitySearch, and Manta. Check out Hubspot’s blog for a more comprehensive list.

4. Monitor Mentions
Here’s where you need to do some reputation management. Watch where your company (and/or product) name pops up online. You can do this on a manual, DIY basis using free web monitoring tools like Google Alerts, or partner with a reputation management service. The idea is to know who’s talking about you, where they’re talking, why they’re talking, and what they’re saying—in case you need to step in to perform some damage control.

By most accounts, it’s recommended to address any negative remarks you find. As long as they’re not flat-out illegal or against your social posting policies, it’s a good idea to respond relatively quickly and to avoid any aggression. Dealing with unhappy customers directly—even publicly—shows that you care about their experience and appreciate the opportunity to look into the situation further and/or make things “right.”

5. Get More Positive Online Reviews
Apply the law of attraction: instead of focusing on the negative things customers could be saying about your company, try to increase the volume of good things they share. Since 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business (according to Brightlocal), it makes sense that you’d want to have as many positive reviews as you can get. To learn more, don’t miss our two-part blog series on customer reviews:

5 Reasons Customer Ratings and Reviews Boost Your Sales
3 Ways to Ask for Customer Reviews—and How to Do It Right

Contact us for more ideas on successfully marketing your brand online.