There is no doubt that a brand’s reputation is vital and that social media plays a critical role in building and managing a reputation. But what does comprise a brand’s online reputation? What factors do people use to assess a brand?
Some companies are doing better than others in terms of reputation meaning they are doing better in certain aspects. These companies are most likely to come to consumers’ minds because of the reputation they have built.
There are five dimensions of a brand that directly or indirectly impact their reputation:
- Products and services
- Emotional appeal
- Workplace environment
- Financial performance
- Vision and leadership
Products and services
At the foundation of a great reputation there still needs to be a good product or service. Social media can’t do much unless there are positive aspects to showcase. If the general perception is that your products or services are inferior, then glowing social promotions will be met with negativity.
In order for social media to have a positive impact on reputation, the brand should strive for good quality products and service. At the same time, social media can soften a blow from a damaged reputation, as the company works on improving on what people complain about.
The role of emotions still remains an understated factor in any marketing effort. It’s generally acknowledged, but not many actually attempt to tap into the emotional side of marketing campaigns. Studies have shown that human decision-making is more influenced by emotions than by cognitive thought.
It is similar with reputation management. Still, whether it’s building a reputation or managing a negative effect, the emotional side is often ignored. All the effort goes into publishing facts and arguments to support the case, forgetting the emotional side.
Workplace environment might seem like the lesser aspect to hinge a reputation on, but its impact should not be discounted. Generating a positive work experience at your company is important for recruiting first and foremost. Prospective employees will always check a company’s reputation before applying. If they see potential for a positive atmosphere, it can influence their decision. In the long run, a negative workplace atmosphere can also affect consumers and ultimately the business’ success.
Obviously, if your company has a profitable year, social media can be used as a tool to spread the positive buzz. People like being associated with brands that are successful, as this is often a sign that the brand has quality products and services.
Being transparent about your financials also projects an image of honesty and authenticity that can further enhance your brand reputation. You should share only what is responsible to share. If you are a public company, there is also value in keeping your investors informed on your financial health, with positive news also impacting stock prices.
Vision and Leadership
With social media having such a wide reach, anyone across the globe may know about big brands that have been in reputational turmoil, from highly publicized scandals or ill-chosen words from top executives. On the other side, people also feel attracted to corporate leaders who are perceived as visionary, selfless, generous or outspoken on important causes, and this directly influences the reputation of the company they run.
Brands that want to build a positive reputation, should consider their executives taking on a thought leadership position within the industry. One way to do this is by encouraging the lead of your company to regularly publish insightful content and interact via social media.