Brand Reputation: Why Brand Reputation is Important
New and old brands alike have various challenges to overcome while researching and venturing to influence their brand reputation. Why do some brands seem to garner consistently positive attention and organically-driven praise from consumers? What does this have to do with brand reputation? In this article, we’ll answer those questions by reviewing what brand reputation is and several of the top reasons why brand reputation is important for continued success in a digital age.
What is Brand Reputation?
Brand reputation describes how a company, product, or service is perceived by its target audience. While it’s ultimately intangible, brand reputation comprises many different facets that directly and indirectly affect consumer perceptions. Some elements of brand reputation are substantive, tangible, and consciously experienced (e.g., customer service) while others are more subtle, suggestive, and effective on a subconscious level (e.g., color palettes, visual identifiers, etc.). You might clearly remember a poor customer service experience but fail to register that a regal color scheme in the logo was intended to persuade you of the brand’s luxury positioning. Clearly, then, some elements of brand reputation matter more than others. Most brand experts agree that at least the following components need to be considered as significant contributors to overall brand reputation:
- Total brand awareness
- Visual brand identifiers (logo, color choices, packaging, advertisements, etc.)
- Brand identity
- Brand personality (e.g. tone of voice, etc.)
- The quality of your product or service
Because brand reputation is so comprehensive and all-encompassing, understanding why brand reputation is important matters immensely for companies that want to understand how they are viewed, whether or not they’re preferred, and why consumers sometimes choose competitors.
Why is Brand Reputation Important?
Brand reputation is perhaps the most important differentiator and competitive advantage for many companies. This is especially true in price-competitive industries where consumers will essentially pay the same price for commodity items but prefer certain brands due to their reputation.
A good example of this principle would be retail giant Target vs. your local grocer or another low-priced national chain. In most cases, Product A and Product B are identical on a shelf in either store. However, people continually choose a better, cleaner store with curated inventory, a pristine brand, and reliable customer service. This means that companies that have worked hard to preserve, promote, and hone their brand reputation will tilt the market share in their favor over time.
Conversely, for “first movers” in a market, the novelty of a nascent concept can position them as forward-thinking and cutting edge. Some companies manage to keep this reputation for decades even as industries advance leaps and bounds (e.g., Apple).
A full explanation of why brand reputation is important requires us to briefly examine how the digital landscape has affected overall brand management practices. Consumers have more ways than ever to interact with brands. Whether this is fair or not doesn’t really matter; direct consumer feedback can come to any company. Unhappy customers have innumerable platforms on which to voice their opinions, concerns, impressions, or various media documenting an unsatisfactory experience with staff, products, accommodations, or just about anything else. Boycotts can be triggered with a Tweet. Iconic brands can sully their reputation with a misguided post. This effect has only been amplified as consumers are apparently now expecting brands to take defined, thoughtful, and measured stances on social issues. Even further, these stances are being interwoven into advertisements that attempt to unwind and speak to complex matters in a 30-second T.V. spot.
Although there are pitfalls aplenty for unwary brands in digital media, there is also enormous opportunity to be seized. Companies that know why brand reputation is important are taking steps to adapt their posture and overall brand expression on all channels. Effectively harnessing the power of a positive brand reputation can pay off particularly well on digital media platforms, including social media. These platforms allow for consumers to provide immediate, unfiltered feedback. There are no focus groups or moderators to mitigate public opinion “in the wild.” This is precisely why brands that build a solid reputation on digital platforms are winning the eCommerce war.
Consumer Feedback Tools for Brand Reputation
Consumer feedback tools like 1Q are used by brands in every industry and at every size to help them directly test assumptions about their brand reputation (or their “competitors’). Empowered with a deeper understanding of perception, brands can intelligently pursue a proactive approach to marketing, advertising, PR, product development, and other critical business decisions. To learn more about how 1Q can help your business access and apply the critical power of immediate and candid consumer feedback, request a demo today.
Brands turn to 1Q when they need to Know Now®.