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by Harry Gardiner on 12th August 2013
Building and sustaining your brand’s reputation all depends on keeping the promises you make to customers. If a brand can consistently meet (or even better exceed) the promises it makes to its followers, then its reputation is in safe hands.
But you can’t damage a reputation if it doesn’t yet exist. Whether you’re starting a new company or rebranding an existing business, you’re going to need to invest in content marketing to help build your brand’s reputation.
It’s true that, at its very core, reputation is something that’s built over time. It can take years to cement your brand as a trustworthy and reputable source; why do you think so many brands mention the date they were established in their tagline or logo? Brands that have been around longer have had much more time to work on establishing a dedicated, trusting fan-base and forge connections with their customers.
This time-earned trust is built on both customer satisfaction (communicated largely through word of mouth) and the content that brands produce. So how can newer brands begin to forge their own path and build a reputation? Through creative content marketing of course.
Content marketing gives brands a resourceful way with which to engage with their audience, inspire trust and fulfil brand promises. Even if your product is terrible, if the content surrounding it is amazing then you may manage to make people think it’s brilliant. After all, just look at politicians fast food chains.
Whilst it may take some people their whole life to figure out who they really are, brands should instantly know who they want to be, and how they want to sound. How a brand interacts with its audience will have a massive impact on what the public think about said brand.
Once you’ve got your voice, keep it consistent! This cannot be emphasised enough. Randomly changing your brand’s tone of voice can be seriously off-putting to your audience. Even if you’re going through a rebranding, try not to change too much.
Research into human interactions has uncovered that laughter is actually a powerful social bonding mechanism. It’s a universal practice that’s completely contagious (Source: Laughter: A Scientific Investigation By Robert R. Provine); perhaps that’s why so many brands are attempting to adopt a humorous approach to their social profiles
One such brand who seems to have a firm handle on the whole humours equals human approach is O2. Their most recent ‘Be More Dog’ campaign has led to some increasingly interesting content, including a ‘pet-off’ against various other brands.
O2 are no stranger to social media interactions though; their Twitter account, whilst also acting as a place to respond to customer service queries, regularly engages with its followers in humorous ways, subsequently reflecting the brand’s down-to-earth, almost cheeky attitude. A great example of this includes the cringe-inducing rap battle between O2 and rival (although not really) service providers Tesco Mobile.
The playful tone of the rap battle helps establish the brand’s approachable and ‘human’ reputation.
Once you’ve established the tone of voice you want your brand to take, consistently employ it in your content, and regularly engage your audience with it. Take Old Spice’s award winning ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign for example.
Yes I know it’s an old campaign, that’s been covered a hundred and one times by now, but it’s still one of my favourite adverts, and it’s a sensational example of creative content.
Wieden + Kennedy launched the smartly shot ad before the Super Bowl in February 2010. Later that year they produced 186 video responses to fans who had interacted with the brand on Twitter. One hundred and eighty six personal replies to consumers… wow.
I know that if I ever received a personal video response from a brand, I would tell everyone I know about it. I wouldn’t stop until my local paper printed the fact that it happened.
So you can assume that many of those people who received the personal response (some of whom happened to also be popular Twitter influencers, funny that) shared the message with their friends and followers. That’s 186 examples of content that got sent, shared around and earned coverage amongst an expanded audience.
But did it help the brands reputation? Well after the first week the campaign had received over 40 million views on YouTube, the brand’s site traffic rose by 300% and by July sales for the brand’s body wash were up by 107% (Source: We Are Social). All in all I’d say that’s a great boost for the brand’s reputation.
People don’t like to be lied to. We’re also born with an inherent fear of the unknown. With that in mind brands should use their content to reveal themselves to consumers, whether it’s through an enthralling origin story or simply consistently honest content.
Unilever are trying to embrace brand transparency by placing their logo on all the products they produce. They make an incredibly surprising amount of household products, including everything from Pot Noodle to Persil, so that little blue U will be plastered in places you might not even expect.
Sometimes the best way to be honest with your audience is to ask for their opinion of your brand.
Buying a car is a huge investment, and automotive manufacturer Kia have realised that consumers are much more likely to trust what other people say compared to a branded message. With this in mind, they’ve teamed up with online review site Reevoo to utilise user reviews to encourage brand trust. By using real customer reviews from an independent source in all aspects of their marketing they’ve managed to create an incredibly transparent brand.
Being transparent also allows your brand to deal with any problems that may arise in a respectful manner. Take Tesco for example, they suffered a huge amount of backlash from both consumers and the media after traces of horsemeat were found in certain products. It’s a scandal that threatened to destroy a reputation the brand has worked centuries.
Tesco dealt with it in the best way possible, they carried out their own tests and issued a letter of apology across national newspapers. They’ve since focussed their efforts on content that shows them taking more care in where there products come from, and although their sales may have taken a considerable hit, they’re definitely working to build that reputation back.
Modern advances in technology have seen advertising and content develop into whole new beasts over the last few decades. We now have access to technology that was practically science fiction during the eighties. Whilst I still don’t have my hoverboard, touchscreen devices are now commonplace and the world is now more connected than ever.
Brands can now utilise cross-platform promotions to help them engage with their audience on a level like never before, helping them build their brand through multiple channels. Koozai’s Content Marketing Manager James Perrin has mentioned a few great examples of businesses that are utilising cross-platform media in order to build their brand in his previous blog post, in which he discusses why Facebook likes are not enough on their own.
The fact of the matter is, when it comes to technology, you’ve been given a wealth of tools to help you build your brand and manage your reputation. Don’t shun them away, open up the toy box and play with as much as you can.
Have you noticed any examples of brands trying (either successfully or not) to build a reputation for themselves through content? Are there any particular examples of creative content that have stood out to you before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.