In the world of business, company reputation is the end-all, be-all to gaining long-term success. If consumers and potential customers perceive a negative reputation of a company's brand, products or services, it's almost impossible to change their minds without radical action.
Luckily, there are several tried and true strategies that you can use to increase reputation in the eyes of consumers. These can lead to increased sales and the improving health of the company in the long-term.
If your company has just started to operate, or you are in need of a boost in reputation, please continue reading for a list of 9 tactics you can use to increase your reputation.
1. A Website Worth Visiting
Although social media is important, and we will talk about it later, an outstanding website is essential for building the popularity of your company or brand.
The keyword here is legitimacy. Consumers can be cynical when it comes to parting with their hard-earned money.
To build a good reputation amongst key audience groups, you need to show them that you are running a slick, professional operation. An elegant website is a perfect way of doing this.
There are many different website builders available now, meaning there really is no excuse not to impress customers with a high-quality website solution.
2. Always Seek Feedback
The best brands on the planet are beloved by their fans because of their ability to respond to customer feedback and improve their offers accordingly.
This is something that you should adopt for your own company as well, as it can improve your reputation quickly.
For this reason, make sure that customers are given plenty of opportunities to provide you with feedback. You could have a dedicated area of your website to submit reviews or use the packaging to provide a postal address where feedback can be sent.
Think of this style of feedback as the best consumer research you can get. It comes from real users and provides you with a chance to show that you listen.
3. Provide Thought Leadership
Having a reputation for innovation is one of the best things that could be said for a company. It shows that you lead from the front, with new ideas and solutions for the market.
Take an objective look at your product lineup. Which products are offering something unique and different to the market?
Focus your energy on these. Use your company blog (which will boost the SEO performance of your company's website as well) and social media to highlight the fact that you are a leader, not a follower.
Once you have established this reputation, customers will come to you first, knowing your products are original.
4. Focus on a Target Audience
You have probably heard the term ‘jack of all trades, master of none' before. It applies in all aspects of life, including the reputation of your company.
There is little point in trying to appeal to every audience, especially when you are starting your company. Could a new clothing brand become popular with both the 18-24 and 65+ demographics, for example?
Focus on a single group and give them all your energy. This will quickly lead to you building a reputation within that group.
5. Plan for Reputational Growth
It is clear that you cannot increase the reputation of your company overnight. It will take months if not years to build a solid audience with a larget customer base.
That said, you should put a plan in place for this growth. Look at the target audience you have identified, and plan for how you can gain access to them.
6. Social Media Is Your Friend
With certain demographics, social media is one of the most powerful tools available for increasing both brand awareness and reputation.
You should use advertising on social media to display the key characteristics of your brand. This should then continue onto your website.
7. Evolution, Not Revolution
As important as consumer feedback is, you must be proportionate when you apply it to your products and services.
You should use feedback to refine your product offering, not to change it completely. Unless your reviews are overwhelmingly negative, you risk alienating the silent majority of users who are happy with what you offer.
8. Your Tone of Voice Is Key
Consistency is one of the crucial rules to remember when it comes to building a reputation. If your messages vary from week-to-week, how can consumers know what your company stands for?
So even when you are tweaking and adjusting your plans and strategies, be sure to communicate through established channels, and use a tone of voice that your customers are familiar with.
9. Keep Track of Your Reputation
All of the previous tips in this article would be useless if you weren't proactive when it came to tracking feedback regarding your company. You would be shocked how quickly a hard-earned reputation can be destroyed simply by reacting too slowly to negative feedback.
In the face of silence from a brand, consumers can only assume that you have seen their feedback but decided it was not worth taking any action.
This can be extremely toxic. If consumers take the time to provide feedback, they may feel insulted if you don't respond.
So you must work hard to not only track the state of reputation, but follow up and be constructive with any feedback, or you could risk worsening the situation.
Company Reputation Is Never an Accident
When you look at all of the most prominent brands in the world, you will notice one simple truth. Their company reputation for quality and dependability did not come about by accident.
It isn't an accident that Apple is known for its high-quality products or that Gordon Ramsey has a reputation for serving up amazing grub.
You must understand that consistency and longevity are the key planks to developing a positive reputation for your company in the long-term. A consistent message and strong branding behind high-quality products will make all the difference as you develop your reputation over the years.
Be sure to check out our blog for plenty more analysis and information on how you can improve your brand.