In the business world, reputation is everything. Our recent survey revealed that 48% of small business owners agree that their reputation is a valuable asset. So, we decided to put together our top six ways to improve your businesses reputation, how to keep it once you’ve earnt it, and some examples of businesses that’ve managed to shift perceptions of their business and earn a positive reputation.
Why is it Important to Maintain a Good Reputation as a Business?
Put simply, businesses with good reputations are the most profitable. With 93% of us checking online reviews before making a purchase, it’s essential that your reputation gives you the competitive edge or you could be risking potential sales. Although reviews must be and look trustworthy, if the majority of your reviews are negative this could well affect your business’s success.
Here's how to gain a good reputation…
Go the Extra Mile
Customers will always be encouraged to come back for more if they feel they have been treated well. Adding a little extra value may only take a small amount of time or money, but it can make a huge difference to the way your customers feel. For example, taking a bit of extra time to fully understand your customer’s needs, talking through your service in detail, or throwing in a small gift at the end of a transaction will all go a long way to impressing the customer.
Get Your Branding Right
Every aspect of your business contributes towards your brand – whether it’s the sign in your window or the way you deal with a customer complaint. Make sure your brand lives up to the reputation you want and you will have won half the battle. Consider aspects such as the speed of your website, the way your staff are presented and what the colours you use in your visuals could communicate to the customer. All of these things add up to create your brand identity and therefore what a potential customer will assume before they have used your product or service.
With the amount of online review platforms now at every customer’s fingertips, the key to building a great reputation is consistency. A customer service issue gone wrong can lead to a bad review which will be damaging to your overall reputation. However, if you consistently give your best and are clear on policies and guidelines, there will be less chance of confusion or negative feedback.
Top tip: Make sure you reply to negative reviews in a professional manner as this can encourage new customers to still use you.
Getting involved in the local community can build brand loyalty and in turn improve your reputation. See what events are going on in the local area and if there is anything you can help with – perhaps you can donate a product or offer up your service as a prize to a local competition. Everyone likes a company that is true to their roots!
Your customers are much more likely to relate to you as a company if you show a human side. Be genuine and try to show a bit of personality. A good way to do this is through your social media feed or perhaps a clever bit of print. Innocent do an excellent job of this, adding funny copy to their products and keeping customers engaged on social media. Reading these fun posts instantly builds a customer’s affinity with the company and makes them feel good when they buy one of their products.
Responding to customer service issues quickly and efficiently will avoid them escalating. The customer will want a solution to their problem, and if you give them a solution quickly they will feel happy and relieved – you may even come off improving your reputation (even if you were responsible for the problem in the first place!).
3 Businesses Who Saved Their Reputations
Popping open a fresh can of Pepsi, it can be hard to think about how PepsiCo’s reputation took a nose dive back in 1993 after someone found a syringe in the bottom of their can. Initially, PepsiCo thought this was some kind of anomaly – until 50 more reports of the same kind of thing came in and the media started to take notice.
Whether these were true or fake rumours, the brand needed to take action to recover their lost reputation. To do so, they installed video cameras and captured footage of their canning process, and how it would be impossible for a syringe to accidentally end up in a can. This transparency won back their customers’ good opinion and the falls experienced in their stock price recovered after a month.
In 2000, Subway hired Jared Fogle as its spokesperson after he became famous for losing 200lbs thanks to the sandwich chain. However, after 15 years of Jared being the face of the brand, he was arrested in 2015 and sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to distributing and receiving child pornography and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. A huge blow for the company.
After this scandal, Subway placed more emphasis on the health side of their brand, introducing healthier options, improving the quality of its meat and changing its logo to reflect these changes in 2017.
By the late 2000s, Old Spice had gained a reputation of being a bit old-fashioned, maybe something you’d find hidden in your grandad’s bathroom cabinet. With the men’s toiletries marketing growing and growing, they needed to take action, and so called in marketing agency Wieden + Kennedy for some fresh new ideas.
In 2010, their Smell Like a Man campaign solidified Old Spice as a modern brand. Within six months of the campaign's launch, sales of Old Spice body wash had grown by 27%!
Read one of our recent blog posts and find out why Your Brand is More Than Just a Logo.