This content was co-authored by Julie McCracken
Reputation is a critical component that often determines whether a company can bounce back from a potentially damaging situation. It’s also a determining factor in whether a consumer will decide to buy your product. These days, not only do consumers consider how they perceive your brand, but also how they perceive actions by your company.
Do consumers have an affinity with your brand? Do they believe your company to be a good steward?
Some of the most reputable companies are also the most valuable brands, and it’s no surprise that the two go hand-in-hand. While brand focuses on company promise (what’s in it for me?), reputation focuses on company purpose (what’s in it for us?).
But, successful corporate and brand reputations aren’t built overnight. Reputation management is a long haul. A strong reputation can drive lasting business success by increasing employee retention, and ensuring repeat purchases from customers. However, a tainted reputation disrupts the business cycle, and can make it difficult to bounce back from. It may take years to build or even restore a powerful reputation – but it can be done. Here are some guidelines on how reputations are built and sustained:
Be innovative and stand behind your product
Consumers look to highly innovative companies like Apple and Amazon for the newest and most advanced products on the market. These brands do not need to rely on heavy advertising to capture their target demographic. Its brand name, products and services carry enough clout on their own. When brands consistently adopt innovative products or services, they are more inclined to experience repeat customer purchases, increased consumer referrals and expanded engagement.
Support good causes for the community and environment
According to Harris Poll, nearly 75 percent of consumers investigate corporate behavior before making a purchase. Companies that demonstrate social responsibility frequently invest their time and resources in their people, customers, surrounding communities and stakeholders. And, thus, more quality employees are recruited and retained. Customers make repeat purchases, become more loyal, refer the products and engage with the brand. By giving time and resources to make a difference in the community, a company also gains community appreciation, acceptance and favorable treatment.
Lead with clear vision and moral strength
There are many possibilities for the fallout of a brand or company reputation. The company could lose loyal customers and potential referrals. It’s strong leadership that is the basis of a powerful reputation. And, a great leader is someone who makes the right decision even if it harms the bottom line.
Be trustworthy and feel good about it
One of the main components of a strong reputation is trustworthiness. If consumers feel like they’re not getting the most benefit from a product or service, they tend to look elsewhere. Brands should pay close attention to how their new programs or products are being interpreted by consumers. Today, when people are discontent with a product they tend to complain or share their experiences in social media. Companies would benefit from responding to those opinions. When a company engages with their consumers online, they prove their commitment to meeting the needs of their consumers.
Be good to employees
Company leaders are responsible for creating a productive work environment and motivating employees. How a company treats its employees is an important factor in the purchasing decisions of consumers. Of the public – especially influencers – more than 50 percent have altered buying decisions based on what they learned about the company’s practices and 59 percent talk to others about a company’s behavior.
Maintain competitive advantage for growth
According to Weber Shandwick, 40 percent of people stopped buying a product when they learned it was made by a company they didn’t like. A decline in customers could not only hinder its potential to grow, but also damage the company’s bottom line. In the same way that we all act to fit our values and character, companies need to do the same, but on a much broader scale. Companies should communicate in ways that help people understand who they are and create mutual appreciation. As a result, stakeholders gain confidence, and enter into longer term commitments. It is brand values and company purpose that will give them a competitive edge and allow for growth.
Learn more about PadillaCRT’s reputation management capabilities by downloading this information: PadillaCRT Connect with Purpose: Reputation Management