A staple of business and marketing courses is the importance of a company or product’s brand identity and image. Widely touted as vital to the long-term success of a company, the brand as a concept means many things to different fields of marketing, often within the same company. Many approaches to branding have incorrectly assumed that the brand consists of an abstract concept that belongs to the company.
Brands, however, are more dynamic than that: they are an idea that represents the identity and culture of a company, unique to it alone. This idea should translate to a unified image, which should then be applied to all of the company’s advertising, public relations, and even online reputation management campaigns. This approach to branding would make defending the brand a concerted affair on multiple platforms.
Defending the image of a brand is not a short-term endeavor. Many businesses, the leaders of which had the unfortunate shortsightedness to employ only half-baked branding efforts, have crumbled under the weight of mismanaged reputations. Those looking out to the future understand that negative press received by the company must be addressed as needed, particularly when it stems from bad business practices and other legitimate issues. In these cases, it is in the best interest of the company to release a public statement of apology, work toward improving business practices, and employ professional reputation management services to improve the visibility of positive content over negative results.
Companies who have sought the help of reputation specialists have reaped benefits both short- and long-term. These professionals know that managing a brand’s online reputation is not merely an act to ‘stop the bleeding.’ Rather, it’s an ongoing, multi-faceted effort to establish and sustain a strong, positive presence for the brand.
Of course, initiating improvements and protecting the brand internally are matters to be prioritized by business heads. Nonetheless, the execution and monitoring of technically sound, relevant, and targeted reputation management efforts are best handled by professionals who can integrate the company’s brand into the core of their strategies.