Our Client Manager, Michelle Flanagan explores why reputation management is essential to protect your brand value.
‘Brand reputation’ is, in essence, the ideas and emotions that the public, customers, competitors, and stakeholders associate with your brand. It is the result of everything that your brand does including branding, promotion, pricing, product development, public relations, customer service and operations.
A strong reputation signifies that your brand is perceived as credible, trustworthy, and desirable. It can help your organisation to attract and retain top talent, increase customer loyalty, create brand ambassadors, increase sales, and maintain a competitive edge.
Warren Buffett famously observed that, “It Takes 20 Years to Build a Reputation and Five Minutes to Ruin It.” Building and maintaining a good brand reputation is critical for success in an increasingly online world.
Remember Social Impact
From online reviews and ratings, social media posts, and influencer reviews, the advent of the internet has ensured that brands are open to intense scrutiny, and it is, therefore, essential to build a strong reputation and to be equipped to protect it effectively.
In this digital-first era, consumers, stakeholders, potential employees, and the general public have access to a vast amount of information about your brand and its reputation could be severely damaged in a very short period of time. A social media crisis, for example, can play out within minutes, spreading negative perceptions like wildfire online.
Employ Public Relations
Public Relations (PR) is a planned and sustained series of activities that aim to foster and maintain goodwill between an organisation and the public. It can build the image and reputation of your brand by using a variety of tools. An intrinsic part of brand building, PR helps to add credibility by communicating carefully crafted messaging to your stakeholders. It can raise your profile, increase trust, attract your target audience, change the way people think about your brand, help combat negative press, position you as an industry leader, communicate your goals and, ultimately, generate sales and increase profits.
The tools employed by PR professionals to build your reputation include proactive media relations, which encompasses techniques like issuing press releases, and pitching key spokespeople for media interviews and thought leadership. This type of earned media can inspire a tremendous amount of trust in your target audience and create a perception that your senior leadership are authorities in their field.
Reactive media relations on the other hand, is another important technique in a PR professional’s arsenal. This includes dealing with press queries, which can help to protect your brand from negative press coverage.
Use all the tools in the toolbox
Other brand-building techniques used by PR professionals are social media marketing, attendance at public events and blogging. Empowering influencers to spread the word about your brand is an incredibly powerful way to boost your profile, particularly for brands in the B2C space, whilst a public speaking engagement by a member of your senior leadership can help increase brand awareness and position them as thought leaders in their space.
All organisations face issues and crises and PR professionals can also help to protect your brand from harm when these arise by using crisis communications techniques like issues management. An anticipatory, strategic management process, issues management can help your brand to detect and respond appropriately to potential problems by horizon scanning for emerging trends or changes in the socio-political environment and by forecasting problem scenarios and preparing potential responses to media enquiries.
Without a crisis communications plan in place, an otherwise manageable issue can spin out of control. A robust plan functions as the centrepiece of a crisis management policy and provides a communication framework tailored to the needs of your organisation. The plan should include key points of contact and an ordered sequence of responses that will help you to navigate a potential crisis. For instance, our team will identify internal spokespeople and define a series of key messages that they should adhere to in event of a crisis.
Investing in the Brand
PR is an investment in your brand and is critical to the health of its reputation. A lack of brand reputation management can adversely affect your brand and result in damage that will take time, money, and effort to repair.
Good PR can help to create and develop valuable consumer relationships and can even repair a damaged brand reputation. By earning your audience’s attention with compelling stories, PR can help to build trust and influence more prospects than comparatively expensive methods of brand building, like advertising.
Media coverage creates third party validation and getting your company mentioned in the news can definitely generate leads.
If you enjoyed this blog – read our piece on ensuring your staff are on brand as well.
To find out more about how Rumour Mill Creative Communications can support you with public relations, reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 90682185