The brand is a business’s lifeblood. It creates the possibility for business, signifying to potential customers that products and services are worth their hard-earned cash. But what is it, really? How has it changed, and how has it retained value over the years, despite changing? Most importantly, how can we safeguard it, as efficiently and easily as possible? We will attempt to answer all these questions, and more, in the article below.
The conception of a brand has certainly changed over the years. At one point in history, brands were literally symbols or words that were physically burned into pieces of property, to indicate that they were owned by and came from a particularly appealing source. In the more recent past, branding was understood to be the symbol, name, slogan or any combination of these elements to signify a product, service, or company. These branding elements allowed individual players to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Today, because of the rise of the internet, and the innate interactivity of it, this idea of one’s brand has become even more important to marketing. Now, branding has much to do with the consumer’s perceptions, feelings, ideas, and experiences of a product or service.
Therefore, the position of consumers has changed fundamentally, from simply consuming and interacting with the brand’s product or service, to participating directly in shaping the brand as it’s experienced by others. Given this, businesses of all sizes, from major multinationals to little neighborhood eateries, should be highly invested and engaged in promoting, upholding, and in some cases, protecting their brand.
Monitoring a Brand’s Online Reputation
On the internet, where feedback is often instantaneous and occasionally unfiltered, protecting and promoting one’s brand becomes a many-layered task. Questions regarding how customers perceive your brand are multiplied by the number of users on the web at any given time, a truly staggering number.
If one could somehow lump together all the Web-documented impressions, feelings, and experiences that consumers have of a brand, that aggregate would be called a brand’s online reputation. Keeping track of all this is known as brand monitoring.
Because of the sheer volume of data that needs to be crunched, and the speed at which new information about a brand is produced, some business owners don’t even think about this. However, this is a question that cannot be left unanswered. The perceptions of your audience (in this case, the entirety of the Web, potentially) greatly affect your business.
Brand Monitoring: An Introduction
Other marketers may refer to it as social media listening or web monitoring, but it all amounts to the same thing: brand monitoring. In a nutshell, this activity pertains to all efforts to assess your online presence and manage your reputation on social media and throughout the web. Brand monitoring uses certain keywords to track your brand’s mentions in tweets, social media posts, and reviews.
From all this information, companies can determine next steps depending on what is required by the results of the monitoring: addressing a PR crisis, retargeting for a certain demographic, or even changing one’s brand identity completely.
The most successful brands monitor their reputation on a daily basis, and the reasons for this become obvious. With the sheer volume of people who access the web daily, one’s brand reputation can possibly change very dramatically every day. Brands need to be able to respond to these changes, as quickly and as efficiently as possible. These responses can include:
Product or Service Refinement
Being able to respond to customer feedback is vital to any enterprise. Keeping an eye out for brand mentions on social media allows you to gather feedback on your product or service without having to ask for it.
If you want to dive even deeper into the feedback you receive, you can assess which reviews are valid and use these to develop a newer version of the product that addresses the shortcomings of the former. This provides a great way to gauge how your product fares against the rest of the competition and a method to assess the success of live events like product launches.
Customer Retention and Engagement
Good businesses attract customers, but great ones keep them. If you can’t keep customers around after a single sale, you may not be in business for long. A loyal, satisfied, and paying customer base is what sustains your business’s revenue for the long haul. In fact According to a study by Frederick F. Reichheld and W. Earl Sasser, Jr., a company that can retain just 5% of its customers can see an increase of 75% in its revenue. This is because customers are generally progressively more valuable to a business over time.
Brand monitoring helps in this regard by allowing companies to engage with their audience. From there, it becomes much easier to respond to queries, or to potentially unhappy customers. In short, daily brand monitoring could lead to better customer service, and a good customer experience is enough to make them pay for what you offer again.
Marketing Strategy Focusing
Looking to connect with the right people? Then what you’re doing is marketing. Advertising that finds and speaks to your target demographic will do well practically all the time. To be able to produce this, businesses need customer information, which brand monitoring excels at providing.
Brand monitoring can also lead to a major boost in sales, especially through lead generation. Often, before buying a product, customers will comb the internet for more information about it. As much as 88% of online consumers trust recommendations from reviews just as much as personal recommendations
They might look for technical specifications, prices, and or discounted deals. More importantly, they may ask around on social media for feedback on that product, or even crowdsource their information across multiple social channels. These posts are either sales opportunities, or, if a brand’s online reputation isn’t well-maintained, sales barriers.
Luckily, there are many brand monitoring and social analytics tools on the web that allow us to streamline our brand monitoring operations. Lots of free tools can easily track mentions of your brand, especially those that contain inquiries about what you offer. Siteoscope, for instance, provides you with the latest mentions of your brand along with links to these.
You can also add filters to refine your brand mentions, so you can easily track and view what your customers are likely to type in their queries. In this way, your marketing efforts will also benefit from some refinement through automation and smart tool deployment.
In the fight to protect your brand, remember, you’re not unarmed. Be sure to make smart use of all the resources available to you, and you’ll definitely be prepared to take on all comers, as far as marketing on the Web is concerned.