Thursday, March 7, 2019
Brand Reputation Management
How should organizations measure and manage their brands' reputations? While many people suggest using something as simple as Net Promoter Score, which is a very popular measure of attitudinal loyalty, reputation metrics must include much more than that.
Each brand has multiple audiences, each with its own expectations for the brand, so reputation metrics need to capture how each audience perceives the brand. The audiences include not just the different customer segments, but also shareholders, employees, vendors, business partners, the communities in which they operate and the general public.
So, the key question is, "What reputational elements are the most important for each of those groups?" Awareness is often a metric, as is preference. But perceptions of relevance, trustworthiness, quality, innovation, accessibility, responsiveness and value may also be important, as may customer service and technical support ratings. Being a good partner, collaborative, environmentally sensitive and a good corporate citizen are also possible metrics.
So, the first step is to understand what matters most to each audience. The next step is to translate these into specific metrics. Then you must set up a system or systems to measure each of these on a regular or even rolling basis for all of the key audiences.
You can also monitor social media sites, product/service rating sites and even your own customer and business partner forums to capture perceptions of the brand and especially against the chosen metrics. And you can use online tools to monitor and analyze brand mentions.
Further, you can add periodic questions to your brand/business pages on Facebook and in other websites. Each question would be designed to gather data on one or more metrics.
I had already mentioned business partner forums. Businesses can convene specific forums to share information with customers and other business partners and can use those forums to collect brand perceptions.
Focus groups, surveys and other traditional research techniques, online and offline, can also be useful sources of information on reputation. Qualitative research such as focus groups, mini-groups and one-on-one depth interviews can help you probe deeply on the areas of most interest or greatest concern. Topics for in-depth exploration might include areas of vulnerability and potential threats.
All of this information needs to be gathered by a responsible party, who aggregates, sorts, formats and reports on the findings in the form of a dashboard or scorecard. And then action should be taken based on the findings. The findings should result in objectives, goals, strategies, tactics and action plans.
All of this needs to be supported at the top of the organization. There needs to be real commitment to the process.
It is my strong recommendation that you develop brand reputation metrics that are tailored to your brand and company. The process of managing against those metrics should also be tailored to your organization's specific requirements. I wish you great success in developing a robust system of brand reputation metrics and management.