A faltering brand image can be readily identified by the following:
❏ When the brand is incapable of generating customer loyalty for the business.
❏ When the employees are unable to promote the brand’s unique selling propositions (USPs) consistently.
❏ When the company fails to attract and hold on to high-caliber employees.
❏ When other businesses in the industry do not consider the brand a competitor.
Other ‘red flags’ that indicate a brand image issue include a significant reduction in sales, lack of engagement on official social media accounts and dismal response to advertising campaigns. As a business, maintaining a check on the brand’s perception in the market is of utmost importance. The brand image plays an integral role when it comes to delivering a strong and memorable customer experience.
The following are five tried-and-tested methods to repair a company’s brand image:
#1. Get Close to the Source
The best place to start is by going directly to the source – the customers. Using the right tools, such as digital surveys or one-on-one chats, representatives can identify the issues hampering a brand’s image. When sending the survey out, the focus should primarily be on why the customer has lost interest in the brand, or why shopping carts were abandoned on the website. A company’s social media monitoring team, the customer support department, or the reputation management team can also provide valuable insights regarding the brand image. If the business has live chat service on the website, surveys can be conducted through that as well. Once the brand manager identifies the faults, the next step is to work towards rectifying them.
#2. Customer Outreach and Relationship Building
A customized customer outreach program can include these steps:
❏ Assemble a list of customers who have made purchases in the last two to three months.
❏ Randomly select customers and communicate with them via social media, email or phone. The objective is to build a relationship with existing customers and learn how a business can improve their offerings promptly.
❏ Ask for their feedback about the product bought or service received, especially whether they are having any difficulties thus far.
❏ In the event they are, take a proactive approach and work towards resolving their problem for them.
❏ Work towards satisfying a customer’s concerns as soon as possible, ideally before they take to social media to share their dissatisfaction.
❏ Repeat this exercise on a regular-basis to nurture authentic relationships with the existing customer base.
#3. Happy Employees, Happy Customers
Find out what is happening within the company, starting from top-level executives and working down the corporate hierarchy. A business must be aware of employee satisfaction levels as it can directly impact the overall brand perception. Employees should feel comfortable providing candid feedback. One way to ensure that is by using anonymous surveys. Remember: a company invested in improving their employees’ satisfaction levels will move swiftly to address their grievances and concerns.
#4. Corporate Social Responsibility
Businesses can only stand to benefit from well-planned corporate social responsibility campaigns. With the holiday season fast approaching, now is the best time to give back to the community (and earn some good will in the process).
Here are some ideas:
● Setup a weekly pop-up soup kitchen. Employees can take turns serving food to the homeless.
● Run a company-wide donation drive for old clothes, shoes and household goods. These can then be donated to non-profit organization.
● Organize a seasonal cleanup initiative for the local nature reserve.
● Encourage the building administration to adopt solar panels.
● Introduce the use of eco-friendly products, such as reusable coffee cups, in the office’s kitchen area.
● Donate to local hospitals, shelters, and senior care centers in the business’s neighborhood.
#5. A New Look:
A rebranding exercise can press ‘reset’ on a company’s brand image. Rebranding is commonly set into motion when there is a public relations disaster, change in ownership, plans to enter a new market, or a merger. Components of a rebrand can include (but is not limited to) a new logo, a new motto, a fresh line of products or an addition to the existing list of service offerings. It is highly recommended that companies work with experienced public relations teams for rebranding projects.
Brand image is key to a business’s overall success. At times, all that it takes to improve the brand image is a clear realignment with the company’s original mission and vision.