Your brand credibility is more perilous than you might think. It takes years to craft a solid reputation, and only a split second to destroy it all. With the enormous reach of social media, one gaffe could reach millions of people in minutes. That’s why it’s so important to constantly monitor your reputation and work hard to continuously build brand credibility. These steps are so easy that many tend to set them and forget them. If you’re working now to build your brand’s reputation or clamoring to recover from a PR disaster, start work right away. If you’re coasting along on a great reputation, don’t leave these tasks until it’s too late.
Examine Your BrandYou should always keep your brand in mind, every second of every day. Training for staff should include your brand’s mission, vision, voice, and message. If you’re still not sure what your brand’s purpose is, then you haven’t yet spent enough time building your brand. The message you send to your customers solidifies this brand. If your words, actions, and images don’t fit the brand you’re crafting, then you’ll lose credibility. All it takes is one slip on social media to but your brand in peril. Bigger faux pas, such as the ones plaguing United Airlines in the news lately, could knock you all the way back to the beginning.
Exercise Your VoiceWhen a vocalist doesn’t use her instrument, it gets rusty from disuse. The next time she sings, she may sound different—and that can be confusing to listeners. Always pay attention to your brand voice. Learn what you sound like to your buyers and work hard to maintain that voice. It’s important to constantly analyze your buyer personas, too. Maybe you’re using the wrong voice to reach them. A hip, trendy brand voice might get attention, but it won’t impress your buyers if it doesn’t match the services or products that you offer.
Build a Better BlogBuyers want to learn about your services or products before buying. By creating content that establishes you, the company owner, as a thought leader, you build enormous credibility for your brand. Share tips, tricks, and tutorials. Spread good news about your company with press posts. Dig into deeper thoughts and share your opinions about your industry. Every word will work to boost your brand credibility.
Check Your WebsiteIs your website up to date? An old, clunky, slow website speaks volumes to new visitors. Your brand screams, “We don’t know what we’re doing!” so loudly that nothing you say can drown it out. Make sure your pages load quickly and that the site functions as it should. And, of course, you must be mobile responsive now. Not only will a non-mobile site turn off your buyers, but it also will perform poorly in search engine results.
Pay Attention to ReviewsNow, how will you know that your brand resonates with your buyers? How do you know you’ve built credibility you can count on? By listening to your customers. Read reviews. Take them to heart. Sure, some can be ignored—specifically those left by users hoping to stir controversy. The real reviews, however, should be used to help you build your brand credibility. When reviews are bad, examine the claim, determine where you went wrong, and address the problem immediately. When reviews are good, use the feedback to bolster the credibility you’re building. And remember: these reviews aren’t always a formal affair, left on third-party sites or your own website. Monitor social media to keep an ear tuned to what buyers are saying about you. As you can see, these tasks must be performed over and over and over again. It’s important to always have your brand credibility in mind. If you’re working to build your brand or to recover from an incident that has put your brand in jeopardy, give us a call. Building solid brands is what we do.
Have you ever seen messaging from a well-known brand that made you shake your head in confusion? Maybe one of your favorite companies released a product or service that just didn’t fit the brand you’ve grown to know and love. A departure from your brand mission and vision could happen if you’re not careful, and the result is always confusion among your buyers and fans. In most cases, this departure from the brand is an attempt to grow or to stay relevant during changing times. To avoid these mistakes, you must first know what they are. Let’s take a look at some flubs that could change the way your audience perceives your brand.
Inconsistent MessagingYour brand messaging takes place across several different platforms, from your social media and website to your print materials and videos. In many cases, the differences found on each medium boils down to the people responsible for those individual platforms. For instance, the writer of your website content may not have any say in the copy used for your advertisements or video scripts. The social media manager might not be aware of the copy used for your retargeting ads. On top of all that, your website designer and graphic designer may be two separate people who have created their own interpretation of your brand’s aesthetic—and the two visuals could differ enough that recipients of your brand message aren’t sure which message is true to your brand. The solution comes in two parts: first, a style guide that lays out your preferred language choices, fonts, colors, and other imagery. Second, there must be one person directing all messaging that reaches the public. This director may not do all the work, but they should see everything before it goes out, so as to ensure all messaging is consistent and on brand.
Changing With the TimesTrends changes at a blistering pace, and a brand that doesn’t keep up with the times could find themselves woefully out of touch within a short amount of time. Does that mean you need to update your logo and imagery every time the trends change? Absolutely not. Brands that do adopt the trends as quickly as they change will eventually find themselves without an audience, as buyers struggle to keep up with the changes their favorite brand is making. Instead, develop something that will stand the test of time. Using every one of the latest trends will make your brand look dated within no time, resulting in yet another brand refresh. It’s important to approach any brand refresh carefully, and only after fully examining your brand’s effectiveness. If you feel you’ve lost touch with your target audience, then perhaps a brand refresh is in order—just not every six months.
Trading Relevance for VisibilityReaching a wider audience is any brand’s dream, but you can’t give up everything you stand for to get your fifteen minutes of fame. The problem is, you may not even realize you’re trading relevance for visibility until it’s too late. Some of the biggest mistakes you can make include major social media faux pas, introducing or attaching your name to confusing products, and participating in guerilla marketing that backfires. Social media faux pas can happen before you even realize it. Have you read any of the horror stories about companies that jumped on a hashtag bandwagon, only to realize later they were associating their brand with something totally irrelevant? One of the most cringeworthy is the Kenneth Cole Twitter account, where the brand constantly shoves a foot in its mouth. In this case, we think perhaps the brand likes the notoriety too much, but it’s not something other brand should emulate. As for attaching your brand to the wrong product, look no further than the Fyre Festival debacle. Kendall Jenner is definitely a brand, and her connection to the Fyre Festival as an influencer was damaged—perhaps irreparably, since she also has to deal with the Pepsi commercial fallout, too—when the festival went belly up before it began but after fans had already arrived! As for a backfiring guerilla marketing campaign, there are probably too many to even mention. Some are excruciating to watch, while others just prompt a grimace. The movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall launched a campaign that irritated every real Sarah Marshall out there, as they installed posters with mean messages to the Sarah Marshall character in the movie. Lines like, “My mother always hated you Sarah Marshall,” and “You suck, Sarah Marshall,” prompted all the actual Sarah Marshalls out there to react with their own posters directed to the creators of the movie. Your company’s brand is your most invaluable asset. You’ve worked hard to develop this image and to build an audience that understands your values. In all cases, put your brand first. You could avoid some of these crazy mistakes and keep your image intact. That’s a lot more valuable than fifteen minutes of fame. If you’d like to explore marketing initiatives that don’t put your brand in danger, give us a call!
Your brand is your most important asset. How your buyers perceive your company determines whether or not they’ll make a purchase, refer you to other customers, and—most importantly—come back for more. That relationship between you and your buyers is a lot more fragile than you might think. One PR disaster may be all that stands between you and a bad reputation. If you don’t believe me, consider the mighty blunder of United Airlines. Wow, now there’s a bad reputation in the making. At the writing of this, their stock has dropped $1.4 billion, and is still plunging. Recovering from this could take a while. Now, in most cases, the ding to a reputation isn’t nearly as devastating as this particular example. Before you despair, try these tips to fix a bad business reputation.