In today’s noisy, attention-economy many companies find themselves stagnating when it comes to Brand Reputation. Perhaps they have seen a lot of growth as a younger company, but now their brand reach and impact have come to a slow halt. Throughout our time consulting at Semeon, we have uncovered five things any company can start doing immediately to improve their Brand Reputation. If you are a personal brand, a large company, or a fast-growing one, we recommend you take the time to think about these 5 things in depth and re-evaluate your marketing strategy to make sure they are implemented:
Consistency Throughout Touch Points
Arguably the most important advice we can give to any brand, consistency throughout touch points is essential. Touchpoints are places where your customer interacts with your brand: your Facebook Page, Website, Ads, etc… Too often we see companies that take these mediums for granted in terms of their Brand Reputation.
Consistency on offers, consistency with content, consistency with tone. This becomes especially true if your audience has repeat interactions with the same touchpoint—a blog, Facebook, or basically, anywhere a customer can subscribe. One of the worst things an established brand can do is portray themselves differently across mediums or change how they are communicating on one medium. Although there is something definitely to be said about A/B testing and trying out new things, that’s not what we are talking about here. Unplanned marketing strategies lead to inconsistencies. Strategic marketing plans lead to structured, results-oriented testing. Furthermore, consistency is not referring to mood. In fact, it is encouraged to change the mood for a given medium. For example, you may be more professional on LinkedIn and more conversational on Twitter. This is not a roadblock. The problem arises when you are communicating two different messages on both platforms. On LinkedIn, you are coming across as a rare and luxurious brand while on Twitter you are coming across as an affordable and ubiquitous one. This segues into our next step, which is utilizing touch points to better understand your customer.
Utilize TouchPoints to Better Understand Customer Needs
Each time a customer interacts with your brand is an opportunity to learn. Touchpoints are much more than just a medium to sell your customer a product or a service. Each point is an opportunity to build a community and facilitate their buyers’ journey.
So how can a brand utilize touch points to better understand their customer? This is tricky. For smaller companies, it may be more apparent, but for large companies, there is often way too much data for a team to sift through. Luckily, technology has improved to a point where we can process all the unstructured data from touch points. Through a process of machine learning, Semeon is able to instantly provide feedback on the vast amount of data companies collect through their touch points. Any mid-sized company knows the pains associated with sifting through copious amounts of data and synthesizing it into actionable information. The problem is, this synthesis is extremely important to understanding your customer needs and wants.
Go the Extra Mile
It’s as simple as that… or perhaps not. Going the extra mile sounds like a simple step: exceed expectations. Unfortunately, few brands heed this advice.
In order to have those champion customers its essential to exceed their expectations. Some brands have been able to perfect this so well that it has been their cornerstone. Zappos for instance, an online footwear retailer, is known for their award-winning customer service. But, providing good support is just one aspect. There are so many ways brands can provide extra value to their customers and exceed expectations. Unfortunately, much like monitoring touch points, this can be extremely difficult for mid to large sized brands. It’s not always so easy to go the extra mile for customers when you have so many of them.
Focus on the 20%, Providing 80% of the Value
This is where Pareto’s principle comes into play. The Pareto principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Every single customer is important but there are more likely than not 20% of your customers that provide 80% of the value generated by your company. These are the customers to go the extra mile for. Be careful though, this is not strictly in dollar terms. An often overlooked part of this 20% is influencers. Influencers can play a large role in the reputation and the ability to immediately leverage who and where opinions influencing your reputation is not an easy feat.
Warren Buffets’ two main rules for investing are one, never lose money and two, never forget rule number one. You invest a $100 in the stock market. You pick a company on a whim that you think is going to do amazingly. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the smartest idea. You lose 50% of your money and are now down to $50. You now need a 200% return on your portfolio just to be back where you started. The same concept applies to Brand Reputation. A brand takes years to build up but can be lost in an instant. A modern example of this would be a couple of years ago when Volkswagen underwent their emissions scandal. This was a huge blow to their brand reputation and credibility. An event that they still have not recovered from (See Drop in Stock Price)
Now you may be telling yourself that your company would never do something as atrocious as VW. That may be true, but there are certainly unpredictable things that can happen to cause damage to a brands’ reputation. Do not get caught off guard and allow a horrendous review, ex-employee, or any other bad publicity damage your brand reputation. As we saw in the example above, it will take an extreme amount of time and effort. The best thing you can do to mitigate this risk is to monitor touch points. If you were able to see a customer leaving a negative comment and resolve the issue immediately, it will have much less of an impact compared to letting it go unresolved for a longer period of time.
At Semeon, we understand that monitoring every touch point, managing crises, leveraging the top 20% of customers, and going the extra mile can be difficult or perhaps impossible. This is why, through the use of Artificial Intelligence, we have created a series of solutions that do exactly these. If you are interested in learning how you can improve your brand reputation, please feel free to contact us!