Can your brand statement have an effect on your online reputation? Will a strong brand improve business online? Can your online reputation affect your recruitment and the quality of your employees? Are all your employees invested in your brand and online reputation?
A strong brand comes from the top down, Presidents and CEOs are the brand and must live the brand on a day-to-day basis. People are rallied and inspired around that. Branding is a confusing term. When most people think about a brand, they think about advertising. Yet from an execution standpoint, that’s only one aspect of the brand. And if you rely strictly on an advertising campaign, you won’t reap the benefits that a strong brand can provide. Branding is about delivering on a promise. That’s why it’s so important to take note of the connection between how your brand is perceived and your reputation online.
Relevant. Your brand has to mean something to stakeholders, especially today because consumers and employees are skeptical
about brands. Consistent and clearly focused. Strategies for delivering on a brand promise may change, but the promise must remain the same.
Defensible. The brand must stand up to certain measurable criteria. Built from the inside out. An effective brand promise extends from the entire organization because everyone understands what the brand is. Employees are aligned on different levels — from what
that overall vision is to the management team understanding its strategy, structure and execution.
Creating and Assessing Your Brand
Creating a strong brand means standing for ‘one thing’. If your company is first to market with a product or service, that makes branding easier. But if you can’t claim ownership, you have to drill down further. Start by thinking about how you classify your company. Then look at your competitors and see what categories they occupy.
Some companies have built their brand around an attitude or mindset. For example, Harley Davidson has developed a brand that wraps around the idea of “outlaws” — of people walking on the wild side. As you build a brand, assess it. Ask: “Where are we today, and how do we prepare for where we need to be tomorrow?”
Tip: We recommend preparing a survey that takes executives, managers and employees through a series of questions about their brand’s strategy, structure and execution that helps CEOs understand whether employees, managers and channel partners “get” the brand.
Building a strong brand to ensure an effective online reputation and presence on the web is no easy feat. But it pays off in a number of
Clarity of purpose. Your employees will know where the company is going and what it represents. This kind of clarity brings employers unity and trust, which ultimately translate into high productivity, performance and quality.
Competitive differentiation. Clearly standing out is an important factor at the point of sale or consideration.
Loyalty. A strong brand creates “apostles” who keep coming back. These customers believe that your brand expresses them. Strong brands often survive longer and command higher prices, even in economic downturns.
Building a successful brand takes time, for brands must wrap around a strategic plan. Sometimes companies come to us wanting to build a brand and online reputation, and it’s the last thing they need. They need an overall business model and strategy first.
This can be a challenge for start-ups and small companies who, like many entrepreneurial companies, will try to “be everything to everyone,” just to survive. Spend some time crystallizing your brand promise and benchmark at what stage the brand is and where it needs to move.
There are several paybacks to paying some attention to how your brand is perceived online. You’ll be able to grow through recessionary times, consolidate your reputation and promote a sense of permanence. Another thing that’s interesting is how talent will seek you out. If you create a good brand, people want to work with you — and they want to work for you.”