How Do You Rebuild Brand Reputation After it’s Taken a Hit?
Even the best of brands get their fair share of bad reviews, but for smaller brands it’s harder to rebuild brand reputation and trust, find out how.
If a brand possesses a strong reputation, it can enjoy a whole host of benefits. There’s an increased level of trust, the ability to attract better talent, and a higher chance of turning over a healthy profit.
For a business on the opposite end of the reputation scale, those advantages can feel like an impossible dream.
The problem is that any business could potentially see their reputation plummet in an instant. Warren Buffett summed it up with this famous quote:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
In this day and age, the fragility of reputation is even more pronounced. Bad feedback can spread like wildfire across the internet and social media, and this can quickly lead to a company’s standing being left in tatters.
Has your brand’s reputation taken a hit?
This could be caused by anything from a social faux pas to an angry customer spreading barefaced falsehoods. While there are many ways in which you can end up with a tarnished reputation, the result is always the same: a decrease in trade.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to repair the damage before it’s too late. Here is a guide on how you can rebuild your brand’s reputation.
Monitor the situation
Monitoring your online reputation is imperative when it comes to preventing damage. When you stay ahead of any negative feedback and stories, you are in a stronger position to quash the negativity before it develops into anything more serious.
There’s only one issue: how do you accurately monitor what people are saying about your brand?
Fortunately, there are various tools at your disposal. As a starting point, keep track of your social media. Regularly check your notifications to see if customers are getting in touch, and also view your branded hashtags to see if there’s any chatter about your business.
Along the same lines, regularly check Google Analytics to spot if there any anomalies with visitor numbers to your website. If there’s a sudden spike in traffic for no obvious reason, this is a possible red flag that something has gone wrong.
For a more thorough way to monitor your online reputation, there are tools available such as Google Alerts.
Have a plan in place
When you have discovered a problem, it’s time to work on developing a solution.
In an ideal world, your business will already be in a strong position and had the foresight to anticipate any reputation-themed concerns. You should possess a well-thought-out strategy if a crisis rears its ugly head.
As for the strategy, there are certain gaps you can only fill once you become aware of the issue. With that said, you can have a general outline and certain protocols in place. You can know the marketing avenues to go down, the staff members responsible for the response, and the tone of voice to take with your message.
When it comes to those gaps that need filling, ensure you collect all of the facts. The last thing you want to do is send out an unclear statement that doesn’t actually address the problem. A haphazard approach will only cause further troubles and turn the rebuild into an even bigger job.
Own up to any mistakes
When you receive a negative review or bad press, it can be tempting to try and avoid the issue. Yet hoping the issue will simply disappear is the wrong approach to take. In most cases, this could place your business into serious trouble – to the point where it might cause unrepairable damage.
Simply sending out a simple response isn’t enough, either. When you do reply to criticism, it’s essential that you do so with humility, honesty, and transparency. If you feel any comments aimed at your brand are unjust, it can be tricky to refrain from retorting in a brash manner.
Just remember: your comments will be in the public domain. The more compassionate and professional you come across, the more likely others will appreciate your methodology. In addition, if you’re responding directly to a disgruntled customer and demonstrate how you will effectively deal with their issue, they’re likely to forgive you – essential for stopping their negative feedback from spreading any further.
Be quick to respond
In this social media generation, people expect instant responses. If a negative comment is fired in your direction, it is important you respond within 24 hours – preferably even quicker, if possible. Not only will this appease the commenter who is seeking answers, but it will also stop the fans from being flamed and the problem becoming an even bigger one.
Even though time is of the essence, you still need to respond with care. Never rush into sending out a message without at least giving it plenty of consideration. After all, you only get one chance with that initial reply, and you don’t want the issue to escalate because of a thoughtless comment.
On the odd occasion, the best course of action is to simply not respond at all. For instance, say the negative comments about your business are hosted on a small website. This website, and their comments, might only gain traction due to your rebuttal. If you hold off responding, fewer people will see their adverse observations.
As the saying goes, do not feed the flames.
Display your human side
Regardless of what has happened to cause your brand to become tarnished, remember to always display your human side. Vague, corporate-like responses will struggle to get anyone on your side during the rebuild job.
If you have made a mistake, quickly own up to it. Apologize for the inconvenience caused and pledge to solve the problem. Never just go with a simple ‘we’ll look into it’ type of message. It’s imperative you are empathetic in your approach. Express your deep regret about what has gone down and how committed you are to making everything right.
The more you demonstrate your human side, the easier it will be to rebuild your brand’s reputation.