Branding & Reputational Damage
When I hear entrepreneurs talk about branding, they are usually referring to all the pretty visible stuff. But if you read my blogs, you know it's much bigger than that. Brands build credibility, loyalty, and essentially establishes your reputation in the market place. However, one thing that I hardly ever hear entrepreneurs, or their marketing consultants, talk about is branding to protect from Reputational Damage. Perhaps it is always implied that damage could happen, but it's not really addressed head on. So bear with me as I try...
Social media and technology continue to change the game on visibility and access to brands and businesses, which is great. On the contrary, this visibility and access can also lead to being increasingly more vulnerable. I'm not just talking about cyber attacks and breaches (I'll leave that to the IT geeks). I'm talking about your customers, your competitors, and heck... you and your employees. Sometimes our business model has loop holes in it, and mistakes are made that could cost us a lot of revenue and grief.
Perhaps you had a bad day and snapped on a client, or maybe you inadvertedly offended a segment of the population with your word choice on social media. Or maybe you did nothing wrong, but your clients are just in a pissy mood and want to complain.... on social media. With lots and lots of paragraphs.
How do you react when these tirades or hate campaigns go viral and the social sentiment is super negative? Most of us will go into defense mood - I mean, we have to protect our brand!
But this, my peeps, is why I focus on strategic branding and marketing. Because branding properly is an offensive technique - establishing a solid business with a core that is grounded on serving others will always come through these reputational storms. Perhaps a little bruised, but certainly not torn down.
So what can you to do proactively block and tackle with your brand? Here's a start:
Talk about your brand values (and live them)
Establish some sort of satisfaction guarantee, with limitations of course
Get in the habit of surveying your customers to ensure they are happy
It's never too late to take back control of your brand and own the narrative.