A brand’s reputation is one of the oldest markers of a business’s commitment to making customers happy. From a consumer’s perspective, a good reputation means the difference between buying your product from a trusted, high-quality partner, or a fly-by-night company with subpar offerings.
Reputation isn’t a pay-to-play game - there’s a common sentiment that your reputation must be earned. However, in today’s data-driven marketing environment, that is no longer entirely true. While improving your brand’s reputation isn’t as simple or quick as securing sales, an evidence-based media plan backed by high-quality marketing analytics can help you turn marketing dollars into a good reputation.
Like any other brand-building process, the recipe for improving your brand reputation is a good strategy mixed with time. Before we delve into strategy, however, let’s take a closer look at what brand reputation is and why your media plan matters.
What is Brand Reputation?
Brand reputation communicates what makes your company unique and valuable to your customers, and the world at large. A brand’s reputation tends to be composed of broad branding factors that stretch across the company – including corporate responsibility, product quality, public relations, advertising, and more.
Some organizations believe the responsibility of brand reputation falls to the CEO, but marketing and branding teams can also play a significant role in reaching reputational goals. When your brand grows, both awareness and sales grow, which means more people will form opinions on your brand. When you understand the general sentiment the public has about your brand, you’ve found your brand’s reputation.
Why is Brand Reputation Important?
A brand’s reputation is of absolute importance from both an internal and external point of view. Brands with a positive reputation can attract better employee talent to propel their success, and position themselves as a premium brand while they enjoy the backing of loyal customers. For publicly traded companies, your reputation is also closely tied to your stock price.
If it sounds like brand reputation touches every corner of your business – that’s because it does. For that reason, brands need to employ every tool in their arsenal to ensure their reputation-building effects are as successful as possible. Interestingly, one of your most powerful tools could lie between the synthesis of high-quality data and your media plan.
How to Improve Brand Reputation Through Data-Driven Media Planning
Media planning and branding are two separate concepts that are intrinsically interlocked. With a quality media plan, you’ll be able to determine where, when, and how often certain consumers should see certain messaging to maximize engagement. This means that by including reputation as a dimension within your media plan, you can learn which tactics work to improve your reputation, and where those tactics should be employed.
So, how can you do that in practice – especially when branding is so difficult to track? Your solution lies within a data-driven media plan that works in tandem with a performance solution with brand tracking capabilities.
Let’s examine three ways that a data-driven media plan can help sure up your brand’s reputation:
1. Set Up Metrics to Distinctly Measure Reputation
If you want to improve your brand reputation, it is crucial to understand where your reputation stands today. Brand reputation should be included as a metric along with your brand and sales metrics – and it must be measured distinctly, and not extrapolated from brand equity measurements.
Set and measure specific goals that tie directly to brand reputation, like consumer sentiment or mentions by a known media outlet. Then, ensure you’re measuring both online and offline channels using a comprehensive marketing attribution solution. This will ensure your team is making advantageous choices regarding your reputation every time they send branded messaging.
2. Use Advanced Targeting to Triage Specific Groups
An effective media plan should be able to target exactly the consumers you need with the right messaging and media mix. When you consider brand reputation along with your media plan, you can find communities where your reputation needs strengthening. Alternatively, you can find groups that have a positive impression of your brand and ensure they stay satisfied.
To get started, run a sentiment analysis with social listening tools to identify brand advocates you can capitalize on and areas where you can intervene before enduring any reputational damage. When you decide to reach out, be sure to use person-level data whenever possible to ensure you’re directly speaking to the needs and desires of customers in those audiences.
3. Make Sure Campaigns Can Be Changed In-Flight
John Allen Paulos, an accomplished mathematician, once made the astute observation that “the only certainty is uncertainty.” So, no matter how high-quality your data is, or how accurately you target your audience, always anticipate disruption.
Brands need the ability to identify current consumer trends while predicting future ones, and adapt their media mixes if any unexpected changes occur. However, not every media planning solution provides this capability. Many brands still use outdated technology that is tailored to the preferences and trends of the past, and don’t provide insights as to how your campaign is performing until it comes to an end.
This backward-facing practice can have dire consequences, like wasted media spend or even a controversy caused by a poorly timed message. For this reason, it is crucial marketers are able to course-correct campaigns at a moment’s notice.
Keep these three best practices in mind before you go forward with any reputation-building strategy. A well-crafted, data-driven media plan has the potential to play a significant role in bolstering your brand’s reputation, while a poorly crafted plan can do just the opposite. And since your reputation is so crucial to your business’s continued success, investing in it will pay dividends later.