So many people think that their brand is their logo and hence their brand reputation relies on it. And yes, they’re right – that’s part of it – but it’s just a part and a very small part at that.
Your brand reputation is also made up of;
- your products and services – the spread you offer, how good your products/services are, how long your deliverables last, if they live up to customer expectation
- the experience your customers have when dealing with you or your staff whether that’s in store, on the phone, online, in print
- the experience that other people ‘hear about’ in terms of what you’re like as a business to deal with
- what’s going on in the industry, media, regulatory circles that might affect you or your customers
- how the business owners respond to any issues or crisis
- any touchpoint (website, business card, blog, social media posts, billboard, sales presentation, networking approach, brochure, you or your staff personally – what you/they wear, drive, etc) your customers come into contact with and form perceptions about.
In other words, your brand’s reputation is made up of anything and everything a customer or their gatekeepers know, see or feel about your brand.
And let’s face it, some of things on that list – you just can’t control. Sometimes damage can occur with a rumour getting out of control or experiencing plain bad luck. Sometimes, you might even be dealing with larger things like industry issues, demographic/economic issues or government regulation.
So what does that mean for you as a business owner?
In a nutshell, control the things around your brand reputation that you can control – especially the easy things like anything to do with your customer touchpoints – like your website, brochures, sales pitches, office interiors, branding, key messages, etc.
Make sure everything to do with your business is customer centric and your branding efforts are as consistent and as well produced as possible. Why? Because everything you do communicates – good, bad or inconsistent – it’s all part of your brand reputation. And if it’s inconsistent, your customers sense at a very deep level, that all isn’t quite as it should be and even if they can’t explain why, they’ll often look elsewhere – somewhere that ‘feels’ more ‘right’.
One of the things that almost all business owners are guilty of at some point is straying from their key messages – usually because they’re bored with them. Back when I was repping (a thousand years ago), my sales manager would say, “never deviate. Just because you’re bored with the message doesn’t mean the customer is.” Wise words indeed. Research tells us that it often takes 5-13 times for the message to sink in with the customer. And if you keep changing it, at best all you’re doing is tarnishing your reputation by confusing the customer. At worst, you’re making them feel uncomfortable – and uncomfortable customers will seek comfort elsewhere. And let’s face it, that’s not great for your reputation either.
If we can help you build or boost your brand reputation with your clients and customers, we’d be delighted to talk to you. You can drop us a line here.