The brand is what sets your business apart from its competitors; it represents the image you want to present to your customers and the core ideas that define your products and services. A lot of thought and hard work goes into creating and maintaining this identity and the perceptions surrounding it; it imperative that you take steps to keep your business’ brand image from being defined by negative press.
If not addressed quickly, negative press and feedback can become so entrenched in public consciousness that it would associate your business with unflattering issues or events, whether it was a failure to resolve legitimate business concerns from customers or mudslinging from unscrupulous competitors. While milder forms of negative brand image association can be shrugged off or taken in humor (as Microsoft did when it promoted its new iteration of Internet Explorer), this negative image often cripples business. A bad brand image is very hard to live down.
Taking early action against negative press, particularly on the Internet, is an important part of protecting your brand image. Social media is at the forefront of this battle against negative press. It allows you to be the arbiter of your brand identity online and gives your customers a place to get to know your brand better. Without it, your brand is at the mercy of the words of others.
Social media also serves as an important part of online reputation repair, which can aid in protecting your brand image from damaging content. Your business can leverage both your own content and the positive feedback on your own social media assets to boost up content associated with your brand to push down less than desirable content away from the first few pages of search engines.
Moreover, having a ready line of communication with your customers allows you and your business to respond to and resolve their concerns and complaints as early as possible. The lack of any outlet for complaints may be the cause of many irate reviews, suggests John Rampton of the Huffington Post. Giving the audience a voice tempers their unpleasant feelings and allows your business to give them the service they need.
Your brand should be defined by your business’ core identity and its successes, not by the mistakes of the past or false words of less than scrupulous individuals. Taking swift action through resolving consumer concerns and taking control of your brand’s image through online reputation repair can help maintain the brand’s trustworthiness and credibility in the eyes of your target audience.