A brand’s online reputation is more important now than ever. Most of the information consumers receive about a brand is through social media and online content. Controversy does happen, whether intentional or not, and the way that a brand responds to that controversy weighs heavily on how consumers view it.
It is important to do what you can to salvage, repair and preserve your brand’s online reputation for sustainability and longevity.
Embrace Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are not always a bad thing. Think of it as an online report card that your brand can review any time. It lets the brand know where consumers are dissatisfied and what the brand can do to fix the issue. Roughly 97-percent of consumers find customer reviews important.
Once the issue has been assessed, construct a plan that has a real solution. Offering promotions and incentives is buying your audience and may gain the wrong type of reputation preservation. Use words and images to negate negativity and begin to preserve the positive reputation that remains.
Address those Affected
Once controversy arises within your brand for a campaign, comment or action it is important to step back a minute and evaluate the real damage done. Take time to read the commentary, complaints and anger-ridden messages regarding the situation and develop a plan to address those affected. Speaking directly to the affected audience members, through a video or written content, with an acknowledgment of their concerns displays strong brand character.
Whether the brand sees what wrong-doing was done or not, accept responsibility for at least part of the issue. Claiming responsibility may help change the minds of those that were part of the onslaught of negativity. Regaining lost members of your audience is valuable and shows the genuine concern the brand has for its audience.
Be Consistent and Unify the Brand’s Voice
Most brands are visible on all methods of social media. It is important that the brand name and logo is consistent across all avenues of contact, including branded websites. Consistency helps consumers recognize your brand no matter where the interaction takes place.
At the same time, the brand needs to create a single voice. What this means is that the content and language used to post online needs to remain the same. An example here would be a vegan brand sharing photos of meat-based meals because they look appetizing. This confuses the audience and often turns them off to the brand.
Own Online Profiles
Some online review websites, such as Yelp as an example, allow users to create profiles for brands. Your brand may not even be aware that these profiles exist. It is important to have a brand image manager on-top of owning all online profiles. In most cases, you simply have to submit information to the website proving ownership of the brand which prevents individual users from making changes to online brand profiles.
Improve Marketing Campaigns
Marketing, whether direct or indirect, has a large impact on a brand’s success. Using Profile Defenders brand management and reputation management services you can improve the way you look online in as little as 48 hours something that is often used in crisis management situations. Improvements via marketing tools can be made to analyze the success or failure of a campaign. Marketing tools can also be used to engage with audience members with direct responses, driving up consumer satisfaction.
Brands can use reputation marketing tools like ConsumerAffairs, Better Business Bureau and Percolate to plan campaigns, respond quickly to consumer complaints and analyze data. The tools would be best placed in the hands of a chief marketing officer or brand CEO to ensure that professionalism is always maintained.
Make Necessary Changes
Any time that multiple consumers show dissatisfaction with a product, service or brand reaction a few changes may need to take place. The changes should make the product or service better than the original. Those that voiced the strongest opinions should be asked to test and review the revamped product and report back with honest thoughts.
Do Not Fuel the Fire
Be professional when negativity arises. Maintaining a professional attitude, even when the returned commentary is in jest, it may seem unprofessional. Some social media managers and brand ambassadors find that injecting humor in responses to negativity will gain additional positive attention from brand supporters.
At least one time in nearly every brand’s history, some kind of controversy arises. The brand’s online reputation does not have to be completely ruined. Retaliation is not the answer, professionalism and owning the mistake help preserve the brand’s online reputation. Brands that remain professional, own their mistake and acknowledge those they affected bounce back far quicker than those ignoring the real problem.
What steps will you take to preserve your brand’s online reputation after controversy?