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Our Brand Reputation Strategy & What Not To Do: 6 Ways to Damage Your Brand

In today's digital age, a brand's reputation can make or break its success. Consumers have access to endless information, making it easy for them to research and form opinions about companies. 

As a result, it's crucial for businesses to have a solid brand reputation strategy in place to ensure that their image is positive and trustworthy. However, there are also several common mistakes that companies make that can damage their reputation.

In this blog, we'll explore 6 common ways businesses damage their brand and how you can create a brand reputation strategy to avoid them.

1. Inconsistency

If you know anything about our branding philosophy at Quill Creative Studio, you probably expected inconsistency to be at the top of this list. Simply put, inconsistency is a brand reputation killer. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common mistakes businesses make when handling their brand reputation strategy.

Often, businesses will start with nothing more than a visual identity - a logo, some “brand” colors, and a website. But without an established brand position and well-crafted brand strategy, they flounder with keeping their brand experience consistent, eroding the brand reputation and recognition.

Working with an expert branding agency to properly create a brand from the ground up can save you major headaches down the road when it comes to keeping your brand consistent. When you work with a branding agency like Quill, you don’t just get a visual identity. You get a brand built from the ground up. That means we start building your brand reputation strategy on a solid foundation of research about your business, your customers, and your competition. We find out what makes your business stand out and build your core message, purpose, promise, and, eventually, visual identity.

By the end of the process, you’ll have a complete brand guide detailing every nook and cranny of your brand’s DNA. Your brand guide will help you keep everything about your brand consistent - from business cards and billboards, typography and photography, social media and website, and everything in between. 

When you keep your brand consistent, you send a message to your customers that you’re reliable and that they can trust you to stay consistent with the products, services, and values that attracted them to your business in the first place.

2. Not understanding your brand

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not uncommon for businesses to not fully understand their own brand! And we can’t always blame them. It can be easy to get lost in the weeds when it comes to brand reputation strategy, especially if you are particularly close to the business (like the business owner). 

Many businesses come to the branding consultants at Quill Creative Studio with a half-formed idea of their brand. They’ll have a jumbled amalgamation of slogans, keywords, images, and functions but no real sense of the focus or the uniting vision behind their brand.

If you’re struggling to hone in on what exactly your brand is trying to accomplish, working with a creative branding agency and qualified brand consultants can help organize and clarify. At Quill, we offer our clients expertise, experience, and an outside creative perspective on their brand, working through our tried-and-true branding process to create a brand identity and brand reputation strategy that sets you up to win in the market.

3. Bad customer experience

Most people think branding is all about a business’s identity - its visuals, message, and tone. But branding encompasses the entire array of interactions that can be had with a business, not least of all customer experience. You can spend all the time in the world creating beautiful, brand-aligned social media posts and advertising, but if your customers have a negative experience with your brand, all the work comes undone in a blink.

In fact, a large-scale study conducted by Moz SEO found that businesses risk losing 22% of customers when just a single negative article is found in a Google search. Four or more negative articles bump that percentage up to a whopping 70% of potential customers lost. They also discovered that online reviews influence 67% of consumers.

This highlights just how important it is to make the customer experience part of your comprehensive brand reputation strategy and to review all customer touchpoints regularly as part of your ongoing brand management.

While it’s usually not possible to get 100% 5-star reviews, having a brand-forward customer experience will go a long way in gaining and maintaining happy customers and positive recognition. 

This leads us to number four on the list…

4. Online customer service

The internet is an essential part of modern life, and brands are engaging with customers online and in social media spaces more than ever before. You’ve probably seen some well-executed versions of this (check out Chipotle’s TikTok or Merriam-Webster on Twitter) and some decidedly not-so-well-executed versions.

Check out various local business Facebook pages for your area, and chances are you’ll find at least one business owner addressing a negative comment or review with a full-scale meltdown. Not the ideal approach when it comes to a brand reputation management strategy.

There’s a big difference between reacting and responding. Don’t let your emotions dictate how you engage with negative feedback. Unprofessional responses to negative customer feedback, no matter how warranted, are never a good look and can do significant damage to your brand, especially if a lot of people see them (you don’t want to go viral for a bad temper!).

On the flip side, staying too quiet on social media can also hurt your brand. Don’t let bad reviews go unaddressed. It’s important that you let the world see that you’re making it right. Reply to every single negative comment to build a professional online reputation. Taking those conversations offline is often the best approach, but the public acknowledgment and offer to make the situation right is what matters most.

Then focus on posting positive, brand-aligned content that engages with your customers and supports your brand message across all social platforms. If you haven’t already, it’s smart to grab your brand’s handles on all the major social media platforms and decide which ones you’ll be active on. Even if there’s one you don’t plan on using, it’s a good idea to grab the handle anyway and direct traffic to your active socials.

5. Unhappy employees

Unhappy employees can be just as damaging to your brand as unhappy customers. That’s why it’s important to remember that branding isn’t just for your customers - it must apply to every aspect of your business, including your employees.

Make sure to communicate your brand image across all departments of your business and understand how your brand reputation strategy applies to internal operations, including employee satisfaction.

Employees who feel well taken care of by their employers and who can competently understand how to deliver your brand promise through their work boost your brand’s overall success. You’re also more likely to attract new talent to your business with a well-executed brand strategy. It’s not just customers that care about your brand’s authenticity - it’s prospective employees too!

6. Messy execution

We’ve all probably been frustrated trying to navigate a crappy website before. Things like being unable to find simple information like hours of operation, typos, fuzzy images, buttons that don’t go anywhere, and inhospitable mobile interfaces all make for a bad user experience which leads to the degradation of your brand. 

You’ve likely spent significant time and money creating your brand - don’t undo all the work with messy brand image execution. When executing parts of your brand reputation strategy or ongoing brand management projects, pay attention to details. Proofread text on all correspondence and collateral. Make sure images have the correct dimensions and resolutions. Test all areas of user experience to make sure they are pleasant and efficient. Put extra effort into making your site as mobile-friendly as possible (after all, more than 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices). 

Above all, think like a customer when it comes to execution. Your primary focus should always be making the customer experience seamless and enjoyable.

Let Quill Creative Studio take the guesswork out of your brand reputation strategy.

At Quill, we’ve seen the full spectrum of brand mistakes and know what it takes to make a brand successful. Trust the experts to guide you if you want to avoid making preventable and damaging branding mistakes.

If you’re ready to find out how the brand consultants at Quill Creative Studio can help you create, elevate, and execute your brand, let’s chat!