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Only when the time comes to place our trust in someone, we start considering factors such as reputation
Warren Buffet has summed it up very well; “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
If you think about that, you will do things differently.” Your brand reputation is what shows people what they can expect from your brand, to a degree. Political campaigns are either won or lost in large to the politician’s reputation. A strong public image goes a long way in winning over the voter audience.
Your brand’s public reputation can either win you or lose you the audience in a very similar way. In this article, we will be showing you why your business needs to start investing in your reputational capital and how your brand can safeguard it.
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Reputational capital boils down to the trust you have built up in your consumer’s mind and your overall brand awareness. A strong brand reputation helps with both customer retention and acquisition.
Fostering sustainable reputational capital is a must in the digital age where consumers can see that you want to share the world with them.
How does your businesses reputation affect your business, you ask? Well, let’s look at the Old Mutual scandal from late last year. A family brought in a deceased loved one to an Old Mutual branch just to prove that the member has in fact passed on.
All because they refused to pay the policy benefit because they refused to believe the family member has passed on. How many policies do you think they sold the next month?
After the events that transpired, Old Mutual did end up paying out for the funeral, but every consumer was left thinking “Do I need to drag a deceased body to Old Mutual before they’ll pay me?”
It is going to take a lot of convincing before consumers even consider them again. If consumers don’t trust your brand, they’ll simply end up going elsewhere. Modern consumers are looking at brands differently with each day that passes by.
Takealot vs ‘another site’
Shopping on Takealot means you get what you pay for. No scams, no-nonsense. Imagine your site is competing head to head with Takealot. The broader audience already knows what they can expect from Takealot in terms of service and delivery. They also know that Takealot offers you a bang for your buck.
The question is how can your brand stay competitive? Let’s say your site has the right products, the pricing is the same and you’re offering a similar service as Takealot. On paper, everything looks good, however by looking deeper into the scenario consumers still migrate over to Takealot. Why?
Because they simply trust Takealot to deliver the goods on time. Their reputational capital secures them the business at the end of the day.
How can your brand build Reputational capital?
Building reputational capital does not happen overnight. It takes time to build trust, and you can do this by doing exactly what you promised the consumer. If you promise them door to door delivery, make sure it’s executed just like that. If you promise them refunds if they are unhappy with the product, refund them no questions asked.
Your brand’s ethics matter and it’s the first thing people will be talking about if you violate their trust. If you find yourself in a position where you can no longer fulfill your promises, change your policies to something that you can deliver on. Keep in mind that ‘re-building’ a brand reputation is an extremely hard thing to do – Just ask Old Mutual.
Another thing brand’s struggle to do is admitting when they’re at fault. If this is the case, you’ll lose customers faster than you can reach them. Remember your brand isn’t the only one competing for these customers. When you make a mistake, admit it and rectify it. Avoiding complaints will leave you with a tarnished reputation, word of mouth is much more powerful than we care to realise.
If someone you trust tells you about a new product or site, the chances of you feeling comfortable with it are much higher than just another ad you see on the internet. This is largely due to the fact that you trust the information because it comes from a reliable source.
So too, if someone has had a bad experience with your brand, you’ll end up losing much more than just the one customer who had this bad experience.
Take Tiger brands for example. After the listeria outbreak, they had to regain consumer trust and officially admit that it was their fault. To this day they are working harder than ever to regain consumer trust and ultimately retain their market share.
Getting it right the first time
Studies have shown over and over again that consumer trust is one of the main reasons for purchase decision making. Think about it. If you are on a couple of sites looking at the same product, you are likely to buy from the site that has brand awareness.
Prices might be cheaper elsewhere, but what’s the likelihood that you’ll receive your product and what service will you be getting?
Below is a brief guide that can help your brand build a strong reputational capital in the long run:
1. Know your brand’s trust-goals
You need to decide what it is that you want from your customer engagement. More positive reviews? Loyal customers? Do you want them to recommend your brand to family and friends?
Define what brand trust means to your organization and what success looks like. Take note that these goals need to be measurable and monitored on a frequent basis to ensure you stay on track.
2. Get yourself a brand trust lead
Your brand’s trust lead is solely responsible for your brand’s goals and vision. Your trust lead should be constantly monitoring how the brand is being perceived and implement strategies to go about achieving consumer trust.
This person should also be engaging with your online audience and serve as a touchpoint between consumers and the brand.
3. Create an authentic brand story
Authenticity is the heart of trustworthiness. Modern consumers aren’t interested in sales pitches, fancy marketing lingo or the features and benefits of your brand. They want to know who your brand is and what it stands for, so they can align with the core of your brand or skip over to the next one if it’s not for them.
Authentic storytelling is a gift that has captured humans for millennia, use it to engage with your audience and build their trust. Another helpful tip would be to develop your brand narrative. Take FNB, for example, their brand narrative is all about how they can help you! When they do, they’ve fulfilled their promise to you, resulting in consumer trust.
4. Focus on consistent customer experiences
Customer service and after-sales are critical for any business. By fully understanding the customer journey on your site, you can provide customers with a personalized experience. By giving them a consistent high-end experience you show your customers that you know and understand them, leaving them feeling like they can truly engage with your brand because you care!
The better their experience with your brand, the easier it becomes to gain their trust. According to research conducted by PwC, 73% of customers reported that customer experience drives purchase decision-making. Shockingly enough only 43% of brands actually deliver on their promises of excellent customer care.
5. Focus on nurturing relationships over conversations
Businesses tend to over-fixate on driving conversation, however, those who focus on cultivating relationships with their consumers will collect the dividends in the long run. Research has shown that 56% of consumers are more loyal to brands that ‘get them’.
This can only be achieved by understanding your customer’s priorities and preferences. Leading brands have taken the time to fully understand their intended market to better deliver personalized experiences.
Reputational capital essentially comes down to the perception and trust customers have in your brand. If you don’t have it, it’s more than likely that customers will go elsewhere. Building reputational capital means being open and honest, delivering on your promises and taking accountability when things go wrong.
A single action can lead to a big disaster so stay within your promise capabilities. Any brand that under-promises and over-delivers will capture the hearts and minds of customers. Your brand will be seen as credible therefore more trustworthy. Only then can your brand truly compete with the industry giants.
If your business can benefit from an increased brand awareness get in touch with us today. Our team of digital marketing experts can help you garner the consumer trust your brand needs to thrive and effectively compete in your industry.