Reputation is tightly knit to a brand starting at its birth. Similar to the brand itself, the reputation needs to be managed and, more importantly, protected. The fundamental aspect to understand about reputation is that it can’t be built on what you are promising to deliver — it entirely reliant on the promises that you keep.
Building the reputation of a luxury brand takes years and oftentimes decades; and just a single incident to ruin it. Therefore a brand’s responsibility along with building the brand is to protect and build on the reputation.
Particularly for luxury brands that build their reputation over generations and isn’t personality-dependent, reputation management is focused on managing the reputation of the product in the eyes of the customers.
Social media becoming a favourite for promotional purposes is a medium that needs to be actively monitored. One post or tweet can have a cascading effect on a reputation in the shortest time, even for the biggest of the brands.
The first best policy to have as a luxury brand is honesty. A brand is the reflection of the totality of its virtues and its reputation is the sum of how much it is living up to those virtues. A brand living up to the expectations set is able to effectively protect and flourish its reputation.
When talking about expectations, a brand has promises to keep. The single most important promise is customer satisfaction. Ensuring that a customer is satisfied with the promises made by the luxury brand is the biggest responsibility of the brand.
Every touch point of the brand has an impact on customer perception, making any negative interaction a potential reputational threat. A single instance of rude behaviour from a boutique assistant can create a negative perception in the mind of the customers while social media can fuel the momentum. Every brand has to walk a fine line to maintain and protect its reputation. Every element of the brand has to ensure that the best possible image is projected to the customer.
Luxury products and services are heavily reliant on experiences. The premium that a brand charges for the luxury is largely dependent on the experience of the customer. Therefore a slip-up or even a slight reluctance to serve can damage a reputation.
Reputation management for luxury brands entails three main aspects: living up to the brand promises, living up to the brand virtues and keeping customer at the centre of its activity.