Reputation Marketing: The Future of Marketing
Ironically speaking, reputation management does not have the greatest reputation. A lot of brands as well as business owner associate reputation management with crisis management. It is not something they usually consider until the actual problem arises. The industry of reputation management has overtime given voice to these negative habits of thought, building the fear that brands and business will fail or crumble with bad press or bad reviews. This pushes business to feel desperate beyond their control. This alone has led many businesses to seek the services of companies that sell false reviews. I dare say that this is terribly wrong in all ramifications. These businesses forget that in a world where consumers have immediate access to information at their beck and call, how one should think of reputation personally and professionally should be broad. Let us not forget that reputation includes the mentions, the comments, the reviews and recommendations across all online platforms. This online reputation is a key distinguisher in the market place.
Business owners are now progressively aware that, everyday reputation either brings opportunity to their doors or take them to the competitor’s door. So in today’s market space, it is not enough for businesses to think of reputation management as they would crisis management. Reputation should be thought of constantly and should be seen as a competitive advantage, propeller of growth and as a strategic asset. This leads us to reputation marketing.
A Paradigm shift from Reputation Management to Reputation Marketing
Have you ever stopped to ponder what others think of your brand? Reputation should be thought about with the same frequency with which you think about marketing. Reputation of a business relies heavily on what other customers have to say about a product. A customer’s voice is something that cannot be suppressed, bought or controlled.
Over the years, businesses have tried to leverage on the concept of word-of-mouth. What distinguished it recently is the fact that is has been amplified a hundred-fold. It is a known fact potential customers’ trust what other customers can attest to have used more than the word of the advertiser/ influencer or any other person. Therefore, the reviews have a great influence in determining purchasing power. Reputation marketing starts with customer reviews and it is at this point that you will discover the power of devoting your attention and time to this channel.
In order for us to truly understand reputation marketing, let’s look at the concept of monitoring. Here, monitoring may seem a very tedious and strenuous task to do especially if your reviews spans across many different platforms albeit when you consider the stakes, it becomes necessary to pay attention. You must be aware of what is been said about your business because it ensures that you can maximize every opportunity that this medium gives to influence your customers. For instance, when a disgruntled customer makes a negative review concerning an awful experience he/she had with your brand, I trust that you would not want it left unanswered in the public eye without a response from you, would you? So, what is expected of you is to step in, acknowledge the problem and apologize then promise to improve on the service. What this tells other potential and existing customers is that you actually care about the way they are treated and also about getting it right. This sort of exchange gradually builds trust that will be seen not just by present customers but by future customers.
Another concept I would like us to look into is Acquisition. To get a positive review online for businesses is quite a challenging one. Sometimes, if you check up on a satisfied customer and ask them why they did not leave a review, they will most likely say they forgot or they just did not think to do so. For this type of customers, the best you can do is to simply ask them, remind them and ultimately guide them through the review process. This is not to say that the reviews are not earned in the first place because you must know that the customer has to feel a certain type of connection before he/she proceeds to write a review.
Amplification is also another concept in reputation marketing that markers and brands should consider. Although online review is an important conduit through which customers discover and evaluate a brand or business, the term social-proof becomes the broader force to work at here. Customers choose your product or service over that of your competition because yours is better and they know this because there is a strong social signal that tells them so. What then needs to be done is that, you amplify such signal! On another scale you may think that testimonials do the job. Nowadays customers are too savvy, except you engage in influencer marketing where the influencer sings the product praise, the customers may think the testimonials are fake. Sometimes a testimonial or a comment attributed to a company without sufficient substance may likely be assumed as a fabricated one.
The way you choose to amplify your reviews depends on the broader marketing mix you choose to employ. If your website has a sales and marketing funnel, insert your reviews on the conversation section. If your business has a social media presence, convert your positive review into a social media post. When you distribute white papers, ensure that your reviews are part of the front matter or in some cases, the back matter. The whole point is: make use of your reviews.
Do not forget that reputation is one of the most valuable marketing assets a brand or business can have therefore, seize the moment and influence customers.
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