How to Build a Strong Brand Image with Online Reputation Management

Customer awareness of, and attitude toward, your brand play an essential role in your company's success. While having a quality product and providing excellent service are a good start, there's more work to be done ensuring that people talk about and recommend your company. You must also be vigilant about keeping the information about your company online accurate and up to date.
These tasks fall under the umbrella of online reputation management and are an important part of doing business today.
What is reputation management?
Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of monitoring and working with the image of the company online.
Key areas of management
  1. Building brand image
Brand image relates to what potential customers see about the brand (external reputation) and what potential employees see about the company (internal reputation).
While reviews are important, brand image is about more. Customers are more influenced by a lack of brand mentions because it may indicate that the business:
  • Is new and not known (few people want to become pioneers with important purchases)

  • Is not in demand (the potential client may think about whether they need this product or service)

  • Removes negative feedback and criticism (meaning they are untrustworthy)

User reviews and ratings affect purchasing decisions, create trust and show that the company is in demand.
Also, social media conversations and reviews are among the top-indexed content in search engines, giving a great chance for even a new business to get high rankings in search results.
2. Maintaining brand image
Creating a positive image is not enough. You need to systematically monitor what people are saying about your brand online. Monitoring brand mentions is important because:
  • Reviews give useful feedback and criticism. Your own customers provide the best way to know how your brand is perceived.

  • Reviews are valuable content created for you by your customers. You can use it on your site, in social media accounts, or in your articles.

  • Reviews are your reputation. They take a leading role in forming the brand image: Positive reviews speak directly about your advantages, while negative reviews show your ability to resolve conflicts and provide customer support.
Monitoring brand image helps minimize reputation risks and take control over the online conversation surrounding your company.
3. Protecting brand image
A business must constantly work with content appearing in search results, regardless of its sentiment. For example, you should respond to positive reviews as well as negative ones to increase customer loyalty.
When handling negative reviews and comments, it is essential to respond to them properly.
Reputation management tasks
The main areas of reputation management involve:

  • Handling negative reviews and comments

  • Working with irrelevant content

  • Conflict resolution

  • Brand perception analysis and competitor analysis

  • Supporting and stimulating positive opinions

  • Community management

  • Establishing relationships with opinion leaders and brand advocates

  • Generating positive content in the top search results (search engine reputation management)

  • Increasing brand awareness and the number of online mentions

Implementing reputation management strategy
Working on your online reputation is all about consistency and a comprehensive approach. How to improve your online reputation management strategy? The three main stages of building your online reputation are:
Do an audit of the current online reputation, determine the main characteristics of the business, and assess the online image of the company and its competitors.
Set goals and objectives based on the analysis performed in step one, then select tools and draw timelines.
Take action on items selected in step two. Continue with performance analysis and strategy adjustment as needed.
Implementing your strategy will include a variety of tasks.
Brand monitoring
Monitor your brand by identifying key queries that people use to find information about the business and searching for brand mentions. You will need SEO tools (like Google Analytics, Serpstat, and SEMrush) and social media monitoring tools (like Brandwatch, Mention, and Talkwalker).
An example from our practice demonstrates how monitoring can reveal some unexpected consumer insights. Monitoring discussions about a company that produced varicose veins gel revealed that most of the negative mentions came from users who didn't follow the manufacturer's directions. The gel was intended to help with prevention, but some users tried to treat the existing condition.
At the same time, positive reviews were left by people who used the gel as an anti-aging cream. It became clear that the target audience urgently needed more information on the proper use of the medication, together with constant brand monitoring to identify non-standard applications to avoid side effects and negative reviews.
Working with social media comments
Responding only to bad reviews is a very common mistake in reputation marketing. It is necessary to acknowledge and work with both negative and positive feedback.
Negative comments: The tactic for working with negative reviews depends on their type, cause, and language. In this article we explain how to work with negative reviews in detail.
Positive comments: Positive and neutral comments deserve no less attention. Failing to respond to them risks pushing away your clients and missing an opportunity to find loyal customers who can become your brand advocates.
Another example from our practice demonstrates the effectiveness of responding to and rewarding positive comments. We launched a marketing campaign for finding brand advocates for a baby food brand.

  • 95% of customers left a second positive thank-you comment (which was not requested by the brand)

  • Positive sentiment showed an increase of 215% at the end of the campaign

Creating positive or neutral content
Positive or neutral content includes articles, press releases, case studies, and other materials. It can push negative sentiment down in search results and add to the number of positive links. This method of search engine reputation management uses SEO techniques for promoting content.
Reputation impact on business performance
Reputation has an important place in the customer journey. Marketers traditionally compare consumer behavior with a "funnel": The customer begins their path to purchase with a large number of options and gradually narrows their focus until reaching their final decision.

Today, customers are not just narrowing the search, but following a more complex path which is beyond the control of brands.
Recommendations from other users has a major impact on customers.
The path to purchase includes finding several brands using search engines and searching for more information on these businesses. During this process, reviews and brand mentions influence the customer's decision in the following ways:

  • Reviews on the company's website can increase conversion rate by 270%

  • When comparing two products with a similar rating, the customer is more likely to choose in favor of the product with more reviews

  • 97% of customers recognize the impact of online reviews on their purchasing decision

  • 68% agree that positive reviews inspire trust in the company

  • Customers are willing to pay more for a product if the company has a good reputation

A complete absence of reviews might lead to reputational risk as well as impactful negative reviews. Reputation management can help with gaining consumer trust and influence business performance.
For effective reputation marketing, brands should have a stable presence online and be active in communicating with their audience on social media.
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