How can you improve brand reputation to create the best branding possible?
A strong, reputable brand is one of the best tools you can have to achieve your marketing and advertising goals, especially for multi-channel brands that sell both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
You want that name recognition, and you want your customers to become brand evangelists and longtime, loyal shoppers. How can you achieve this? By putting your customers first.
Here are four customer-centric ways to improve brand reputation.
Be honest and open
The best brands have that it-factor that sets them apart from the competition. What’s yours? Figure out what it is about your brand that makes it special, and also settle on a quick elevator pitch that emphasizes that selling point.
Most importantly, be honest and open about your brand with your target audience. Customers can sniff out a dishonest brand from a mile away, so they’ll know if you try to market yourself as something that you’re not. To figure out what makes your brand unique, look for a specific value-add. Or, highlight an interesting tidbit from your company’s founding, such as the background of executive leadership.
This type of information is great for building your reputation in a way that will connect with customers beyond the content of your products or services.
Show value in your products
Show, don’t tell. This is an excellent rule for many things, brand reputation included. Retail today is oversaturated and hyper-competitive, and that means consumers have seen and heard it all. They know all the marketing and advertising tricks. You must bring real value to get attention—and develop a reputation for substance over style.
To do that, show the value in your products. Create marketing, advertising, and merchandising materials that highlight how your products serve the customer. Answer the ever-important questions of “Why do I care?” and “Why do I care now?” Focus on addressing the need of the consumer before you introduce your solution. In fact, the solution should be one of the last things you communicate to your customers in favor of discussing their pains and problems.
Improve brand reputation by talking to customers directly
One of the best strategies to improve your brand reputation is to connect with shoppers directly. There are few sources of information better than the people you want to buy your brand.
This can take several different forms. For starters, you can conduct customer feedback surveys to ask questions directly to your shoppers. However, these surveys often have low response rates. Another option is to leverage retail auditing and mystery shoppers to get feedback on your brand.
For instance, smartphone-enabled shoppers can be mobilized to visit brick-and-mortar stores to gather front-of-store data relevant to your brand. They can provide feedback on merchandising effectiveness, inventory levels, store associate knowledge of your brand, and more. This way, you can get in-depth customer feedback at scale and in larger sample sizes than more traditional methods of data collection.
Act on customer feedback
There’s a difference between listening and hearing. Too many brands hear their customers provide feedback, but they don’t listen—which means they’re not acting on that feedback and creating meaningful change.
In fact, this is one reason why customers are losing the will to provide feedback to brands, as uncovered in a recent Medallia survey. Medallia found that consumers developed a negative sentiment toward brands if they felt that their past feedback wasn’t addressed. This can hurt a brand’s reputation, especially if they’re viewed as inconsiderate toward their customers.
Instead, act on your customer feedback. Shoppers who are willing to share their opinions should be cherished, and you should make sure to listen closely to what they have to say, validate feedback for accuracy, and then develop and implement solutions as needed.
Your brand is your business and your business is your brand. As you develop a successful identity, make sure you’re doing it with the customer in mind. They’re the ones you need to sell on your brand, after all.