A brand that has good things spoken about it is more attractive to customers, and this can be made possible only with brand monitoring.
Monitoring a brand doesn’t magically make customers love your brand. Instead, it gives you complete visibility of current and possible future threats to your brand’s reputation that you can correct quickly so that you’re always trusted by your customers.
After all, your brand is only as loved as its reputation.
What Threatens A Brand’s Reputation?
The internet has allowed everyone to react to everything they experience. While most brands use social media and forums to advertise their products, they also leave themselves vulnerable to harsh criticism from customers.
Why does this matter? Discerning future customers form their perception of your brand based on the testimony of others.
Several factors can contribute to threatening a brand’s standing in the market, including:
1. A PR Crisis
Even the biggest brands stumble sometimes. Saying something inappropriate through their communications, being called out for poor ethics or service, failing to deliver on commitments, and many more reasons can give your brand ample bad cred.
It undoes all the good promotions that you have worked so hard for in a jiffy. PR and news channels pick such instances up, and the word about your mistake spreads like wildfire.
2. Ignoring Disgruntled Customers
Customers have been given ample legal recourse to turn to if a product or service fails to deliver what was promised to them. Hence, a disgruntled customer may not be a solitary voice of anger on the internet but can turn into a full-blown legal adversary.
Their experience influences the behavior of all your future customers too. And even if this wasn’t the case, ensuring that you make it up to unhappy customers is just the decent thing to do.
3. Losing Relevance
If you operate your brand with horse-blinders on, you may miss the opportunities in the market.
This turns into a threat for your business because your competition, which is awake and alert to shifting sands, is evolving quickly. If you do not adapt soon enough, your business could be rendered irrelevant and redundant.
4. Poor Customer Loyalty
It’s easier to give your existing customers something special now and then to ensure their loyalty.
You have spent time, resources, and effort on bagging this customer, and it is only fair that their needs be at the top of your priority list. A business that cannot retain its customers is like a canoe with a leak and will struggle to stay afloat for much longer.
What Could Happen To An Unprotected Brand?
As someone responsible for a brand, you need to acknowledge how vital it is to protect your enterprise from a bad reputation. There’s a lot to lose if you’re callous about what customers think about your brand.
1. Ruins Customer Trust
A brand that has lost a customer’s trust can rarely win it back. Customer trust is a more valuable currency than the money you make from them. Losing the trust of one customer can lead to the loss of an entire demographic should they exercise their full influence to warn others about your brand.
2. Negative Attributes Attached To Your Brand
Do you want to be that brand that is remembered for all the wrong reasons? One example is Nokia’s Lumia phone. Lumia in Spanish translates to ‘prostitute’, which caused the phone’s name to be a subject of ridicule among Spanish-speaking markets.
3. Poor Perception About Your Brand
One PR debacle will make people remember it. No matter how much good you manage to do after this, it remains at the back of every buyer’s mind, before making their purchase decision and can sway them in the direction of your competitor’s offering.
For example, United Airlines forcibly removed an elderly doctor from their plane in 2017 since it was overbooked and the gentleman refused to disembark, giving the carrier a notorious reputation.
It’s been five years since the incident, and the airline continues to face backlash. It’s sufficient to say that once trust has been broken, it’s almost impossible to recover from tarnished credibility.
4. Cannot Track Problems Before They Escalate
Negative mentions of your brand can escalate like wildfire in a dried-up forest if not dealt with quickly.
A brand that is threatened by a bevy of angry and hateful netizens has its back against the wall and may sometimes need to be silent and pause all communication for a finite time until the tide settles down. And this is disastrous for business.
This brings us to brand monitoring. These problems, believe it or not, can be avoided by monitoring your brand religiously and making preemptive strikes against potential downturns. But what is brand monitoring exactly?
What Is Brand Monitoring?
So, how do you protect your brand and its reputation? It’s simple. You monitor every aspect of it, round the clock, every day of the year. Your customers do not have off-hours and neither do their social media profiles.
Brand monitoring involves keeping track of what’s being said about your brand on social media, TV, new media, review forums, publicity channels, radio, and even the word on the street.
You may not be advertising on radio and TV, but if someone from the internet flags something about your brand that is worth covering, you never know which channel can pick it up.
Brand monitoring can be carried out manually by tracking all platforms and creating reports. Or you could also take the help of some useful tools (featured later in this post) that automate the process and are effective to a fair degree.
How Do You Ensure A Great Brand Reputation?
Brand monitoring and social listening aren’t ‘good to have’ functions for a business. They are ‘must-haves.’ Here are some ways to ensure that you responsibly monitor your brand’s mentions across the media:
1. Plan Your Brand Reputation Strategy (Sentiment Analysis And Keyword)
You need to have your brand reputation strategy on point. One of the main buzzwords you will encounter along the way is brand sentiment. Brand sentiment helps you understand the overall feelings of your customers when it comes to their perception of your brand.
A simple way to do this is to bucket your brand’s mentions as ‘Positive’ (for all the good things said about your brand), ‘Neutral’ (for advertising mentions that are matter-of-fact and do not have a point of view), and ‘Negative’ (for mentions that are complaints, ridicule, or anything that you wouldn’t like associated with your brand).
Analyze your sentiment regularly and keep striving for a higher positive sentiment score.
2. Identify Areas Of Threat
If someone has complained about your product, you may investigate what went wrong in that instance and acknowledge the complaint. If twenty people have done the same thing, you need to investigate the product or service that is causing this issue.
As soon as you identify these weak points, fix them quickly and reach out to those who brought this issue to your attention and thank them. Let them know how you strive to offer them the experience that they deserve.
3. Respond Promptly
As you prepare your strategy, start planning for people or software that can track and respond to mentions promptly. Brands that respond quickly are perceived to be more active and empathetic.
You do not want to acknowledge someone’s poor donut-eating experience at your restaurant weeks later, because that’s only going to enrage them even further and increase their contempt towards your brand. Not to mention any other people they may have spoken with about your product.
4. Respond Responsibly
While some brands can stray into flippant retorts and smart comebacks, it’s all about timing.
You do not want to drop a smart one-liner on a patient who had their wrong tooth extracted at your dentistry clinic. Be aware of every customer’s sentiments. Be apologetic and do not respond with abuse to abuse.
An escalation matrix helps create priority and severity levels for your mentions so that you know which of them have to be treated with special care, and which of them aren’t as crucial.
5. Identify Your Advocates And Detractors
Advocates are those who say good things about your brand, while detractors are the ones who do quite the opposite. Every brand monitoring report should acknowledge and call out the top five in both categories.
These can be picked based on their social reach, followers, the number of times they post about your brand, and more.
Here’s how you can convert your customers into advocates:
Identifying these individuals can be difficult, especially if you are doing it manually, but once you figure out how to do this, you can use this list in powerful ways to improve your organic reach and reduce the attacks your brand suffers. Influencers must speak from the viewpoint of your brand and represent what you do.
6. Conduct Frequent Audits
Keep checking and questioning everything you do. If you have outsourced your communication to an agency, audit their work at regular and irregular intervals. View your content from your customer’s point of view.
Keep challenging the efficacy of your responses and the quality of the reports you receive. Keep pushing your team towards scoring higher on positive sentiment.
7. Fuss Over Reports
Reporting is everything when it comes to brand monitoring. Schedule weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports for your brand. Compare your short-term and long-term goals and achievements. You will see problems that are taking longer to resolve and also be able to single out one-off problems.
Here’s an excellent guide to completely understanding the key parameters of your brand’s reputation online. A large part of your brand monitoring exercise will be creating and improving reports.
3 Tools That Can Help You Simplify Brand Monitoring
These three brand monitoring tools essentially do much of the work for you. And in even greater news, they each have a free demo for you to determine whether they work for you.
It’s difficult to get a single, consolidated view of reviews from across sites. ReviewTrackers does just this, making it easier for you to track multiple sources. You can request a demo here.
A favorite among smaller businesses who want a single platform to track, respond to, and report the goings-around of their brand on the internet. You can learn more from their free demo here.
YextReviews is more effective in improving your business's SEO because it crawls the internet and lets you know where your business information is not consistent. You can also control your social profiles from here and respond to reviews. Check out a free demo here to learn more.
Over To You
In conclusion, we must admit that it is no easy task to manage your brand’s reputation. But it isn’t an impossible target to hit.
Brand monitoring is getting easier and more convenient, with tools getting smarter and more intuitive. We’re sending positive sentiments your way. Best of luck!