Customers of reputable companies exhibit higher levels of loyalty and engage in a wider range of purchases. In an economy where 70% to 80% of market value comes from hard-to-assess intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill, organizations are especially vulnerable to anything that damages their reputations. In this article, we will explore five examples of successful reputation management strategies employed by small businesses, showcasing their approaches to building and protecting a positive image.
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management refers to the strategic process of monitoring, influencing, and shaping how a company or brand is perceived in the online landscape. It involves actively managing online reviews, customer feedback, social media interactions, and other digital touchpoints to maintain a positive image.
Reputation management aims to safeguard the reputation of a business by promptly addressing negative feedback, resolving customer issues, and proactively showcasing positive aspects of the brand. By actively managing and maintaining a favorable online reputation, companies can enhance their credibility, attract new clients, and foster long-term business growth. Here are five of the top reputation management examples for small businesses.
How to Monitor Online Reputation and Public Perception
Online reputation management is an ongoing endeavor focused on establishing, nurturing, and upholding the brand identity of your business. Its primary objective revolves around shaping and effectively managing how consumers perceive your business in the digital realm.
Reputation management techniques can include suppressing or reacting to messages online. Some strategies might include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): content marketing to bring in new customers by organically ranking in Google search engine results
- Social media management: social listening, monitoring and engaging with social media accounts, making social media posts, and other social media marketing activities
- Public relations: media monitoring across media channels for indicators of brand mentions that impact business reputation, crisis management campaigns, and planning when needed.
- Review management: ensuring that potential customers on Yelp, Google, and/or Clutch are met with positive reviews and that all negative comments are responded to and accounted for
- Customer experience interviews: testimonials, forums, and marketing strategy that centers the support team and current customer reviews
When your reputation is positive, you inspire customer loyalty, a significant revenue and growth driver. A negative reputation can damage sales and customer retention, but it also helps you learn about what customers like, which can help update business processes to meet consumer needs better.
The factors above provide valuable information that helps you understand the sentiments surrounding your brand. Essentially, they offer insights crucial for enhancing your online brand identity and influencing consumers' perceptions of your brand.
Top 4 Examples of Successful Online Reputation Management
From managing negative reviews to staying active on social media platforms, maintaining a good reputation and online presence isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Companies should look to successful online reputation management strategies from real-life companies to determine how to best bolster brand image.
Your brand’s online reputation is a huge indicator of customer satisfaction. As a business owner, these digital marketing examples should point you to smart ways to improve the reception of your brand name.
The bigger your brand gets, the harder it is to find time to review customer complaints. Managing online reputation operates on multiple levels, and it is crucial to keep customer complaints in focus and not let them slip away unnoticed.
One way to effectively manage the overwhelming influx of messages on social platforms is to establish separate handles dedicated to customer support. A popular brand that’s doing this is Nike.
The primary focus of the @NikeService account is to respond to customers in need of assistance promptly. By using @NikeService the company can simplify the process while keeping complaints and questions into a single support hub. Nike has given their customers a reason to want to return to their website every day and engage with Nike and their friends.
Everyone gets added value: the customers get something that helps them with their fitness regime and helps them interact with friends. In contrast, Nike gets valuable information about how customers use its products. By creating a two-way conversation with consumers, Nike gains insight into their needs, and as the results show, they don’t just listen. They react.
Experiencing flight delays or cancellations can be highly frustrating for any customer. When this happens, many customers feel frustrated on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. JetBlue recognized the issues the airline industry was facing from a reputational perspective and took actions to position itself as a company that prioritizes customer service.
So, when a customer complains about a cancellation or a flight delay, JetBlue communicates with the client quickly and provides helpful responses. Employees at JetBlue don't feel pressured to hit a response goal by sending quick responses to every single tweet that comes in.
"We want our employees to engage smartly, and for the conversations to be organic and natural. We look for opportunities to add value and connect with our customers, not just respond to every single mention that comes our way." – JetBlue
3. Whole Foods
Whole Foods is known for its natural food selection, household items, and clothing. While the company maintains a strong online reputation, it has not been entirely immune to controversies.
Nonetheless, what sets Whole Foods apart is its remarkable approach to addressing conflicts. With a remarkable number of more than 300 Twitter accounts and 250 Facebook accounts, Whole Foods ensures a personalized approach by predominantly involving local employees. This extensive network of accounts adds a personal touch to their Twitter presence, enabling the local employees to cater to their target market with greater specificity.
The CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing his stance on healthcare reform. While this was clearly his personal opinion, it still affected the Whole Foods brand. Many customers were unhappy with the position of the CEO, and even created boycott groups on social media.
Whole Foods quickly assessed the reputational risk and took swift action with an official statement a few days later. This response had a positive effect on the outcome of this situation. They invited customers to share their opinion of the matter, which helped maintain their reputation as a brand that cares.
At Zappos, employees are trained to use interactions with customers as a way to build relationships, not make a sale. And if a call is going long during a particularly busy time, then it's up to the employee overseeing the call center to assign more people to calls rather than to encourage an employee to end a call early.
Zappos’ main focus is to “WOW” every customer through superior customer service. Their contact center agents have gone above and beyond by sending hand-written cards to clients and even delivering flowers to customers during difficult times.
Their 365- return policy helps create a positive social media reputation for the brand. This policy has meant that the returns at Zappos are around 35% of online order values, but the customer WOW factor has increased customer loyalty. 75% of their total revenue is from repeat customers. Zappos considers this strategy as a marketing expense toward customer acquisition.
Reputation Management Builds Brands
Your brand's reputation is not solely dependent on the quality of your products or services, but also on how the public perceives your brand. Online platforms, such as social media, review sites, and search engines, significantly shape public opinion.
Through effective reputation management, you can proactively influence and shape the narrative surrounding your brand, ensuring that it aligns with your desired image.
By promptly addressing customer concerns, engaging with online communities, and fostering positive interactions, reputation management helps build trust, credibility, and customer loyalty.
It empowers you to control and amplify your brand's positive attributes effectively, ultimately driving growth and success in a highly competitive digital landscape.