Brand reputation has never been more important. In this fast-moving digital world, millions of B2B organisations are jostling for pole position – pulling every trick they can out of the bag to get the attention of their target audience. If only they spent as much time, energy, and money on building and maintaining their reputation. Then they’d have a better chance of succeeding.
And yet so many B2B organisations fail to build and protect their brand reputation – which in turn harms their credibility and prevents customers from trusting them.
With that in mind let’s:
- Uncover the benefits of building a brand reputation
- Decipher which tools are needed to measure it
- Outline the steps required to get started
Building a great brand reputation: five reasons you should care
Brand reputation affects every area of your business and can yield great long-term results if managed correctly. Here’s why.
#1 Reputation management matters
There’s only one thing worse than having no reputation – not defending it. Brands that make mistakes and own up to them have a better chance of building strong relationships with their customers compared to those that stay stoically silent.
In other words, reputation management is one of the strongest tools in your marketing arsenal. So don’t be afraid to create a Google My Business account and respond to negative reviews – because you’ll get brownie points for solving problems well.
#2 Turn customers into loyal brand-advocates
Can you win customers without building a strong brand reputation? Of course you can – the internet is awash with forgettable organisations that make money by convincing people to pay for their products or services.
But those customers don’t return because:
- their experience was transactional rather than emotional
- They were given no incentive to come back again
- No attempts were made to engage post-purchase
Loyalty stems from great experience. And great experiences build great brands. So instead of focusing exclusively on your offering, make your customers glad to be associated with you.
#3 Attract the best employees – and retain them too
Build a great brand reputation and you’ll attract top talent too. If you’re known for offering competitive salaries, best-in-class training, and inclusive workplace culture, people will want to work for you.
A stronger workforce is essential if a B2B organisation is to compete seriously with rivals in its sector – which means building a great brand is an exercise that starts from the inside out.
#4 Increase sales and profits too
Having established a strong brand reputation you’ll be in the enviable position of being able to charge more for your products and services – which happy brand advocates will be more than happy to pay top-dollar for.
But to get to this stage you’ll need to convince prospects that your brand is:
#5 Get the edge on your competitors
Hone your brand reputation and you’re more likely to catch the attention of investors, customers, and talented employees looking for a new career challenge. This will make your B2B organisation more agile, resilient, and ultimately profitable too.
Getting the measure of your brand – steps you can take today
To monitor and manage your brand effectively:
- Watch what prospects are saying about you in threads on your social media channels and look for trends.
- Search for your brand name online to see if it appears in search results – and in what particular context.
- Scour forums and other online sources to eavesdrop on customer conversations and get better intel.
- Repeat the above process for your competitors and compare the results to identify areas for improvement.
The answers will help you determine whether your brand is seen in a positive, negative, or neutral light – providing a baseline from which to work. Of course brand reputation and management is a circular exercise that needs to be built into the very DNA of your marketing plan.
Using metrics to measure and protect your brand reputation
To measure how effective your brand reputation strategy is you may want to consider the following indicators…
- Customer reviews on platforms like Google Reviews
- How well pages are ranking for target keywords
- The number of people returning to your website
- Email open rates and conversion metrics
- Results of customer satisfaction surveys
This list isn’t limitless but will give you greater insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your brand.
Getting started – three ways to start building your B2B brand reputation
A structured approach is best and should incorporate the following steps.
#1 Observe and react
Rather than watching problems unfold, intervene at the earliest opportunity. All brands make mistakes but not all take remedial action early enough. That’s why it’s important to respond to negative feedback on social channels if PR disasters are to be avoided.
#2 Overpromise at your peril
Brand reputation is about expectation management. If you promise the world and underdeliver your customers won’t hesitate to tell the world about it – their negative comments have far-reaching effects across numerous social media channels.
Be transparent about your prices, returns policies, and delivery times so that customers are kept in the loop and know exactly what to expect. That way they’re more likely to be delighted than disappointed.
#3 Request and act upon feedback from your audience
Rather than waiting for feedback, proactively ask for it. That way you can start to decipher what customers love and don’t love about your brand. Of course, this real-world feedback needs to be acted upon – as opposed to listened to.
With that in mind…
- Acknowledge the feedback you’ve received
- Tell your customers how you’ll act upon it
- Keep your promise by making those changes
Brand reputation management is essential for any B2B organisation that wants to increase its profile, establish itself as credible in its chosen sector, and enjoy profitable growth.
The process is, however, complex and time-consuming. And that’s why companies often prefer to outsource the work to marketing specialists who can manage the process for them.
To improve and manage your brand reputation book a free consultation with one of our experts.