Interview: Carnegie Mellon Professor Ari Lightman On How Students Are Empowered By Learning To Use Brandwatch Consumer Research
By Kara FinnertyJun 10
Published October 26th 2016
We all know the power of investing in and creating strong brand identities.
But once they’ve been established, how and why do you go about maintaining and protecting them in today’s multi-channel, consumer-focused and ‘always on’ world?
In the modern marketing landscape the art of brand positioning is evolving rapidly. Consumers are more in touch than ever with the brands and products they love – using social media to register reactions in a highly visible way.
These conversations are constant, wide-ranging and accessible to mass audiences. Content can be created, posted and shared with millions in an instant.
And while this kind of contact can be a fantastic way to engage new audiences, controlling your brand’s reputation within these online conversations and forums is becoming increasingly tricky.
Since Ignite launched our Business of Reviews research in 2014 we have seen a continuing awareness dawning on businesses for the need to manage online content – and of the damage unchecked material can do.
Our original data revealed the scale of the problem and the confusion surrounding how to tackle it.
The 2016 follow up paints a troubling picture. The number of managers who feel bad reviews have the power to make or break their business has risen from 17 to 21 per cent and more than half those we spoke to have been affected by negative reviews in the last 12 months.
More specifically, 52 per cent experienced a commercial slump because of unfavourable comments online and 47 per cent have seen their brand hit by malicious posts and trolls.
For brands and marketers, the consequences of these types of posts are huge and wide-ranging.
On the whole, many are more aware than ever of the seriousness of the situation – 31 per cent told us finding ways to monitor and manage negative content is becoming more important to their customer service/marketing strategy and they are starting to invest heavily in this.
However, another one in eight admits they still don’t have a strategy in place.
Taking control – having a clear online review and content strategy is a vital first step.
Who is in charge of this – will it be in house or outsourced? How will it be managed? Deciding how you wish to handle this is the first step to tightly managing and controlling it.
As well as reacting to negativity, brands need to take a more pro-active approach.
For example, developing positive content and more online assets (whether it’s maintaining blogs, having various social media profiles or investing in third party review platforms – such as Trust Pilot) will boost their reputational resilience for the long-term.
Customer service and a strong handling processes will help here.
Effective monitoring to track negativity is crucial too – allowing brands to react quickly when problems arise.
When negative content does appear it can be challenged. In some cases this may need legal action.
However this isn’t always the case as more simple approaches, such as contacting a website directly to flag the impact on the business due to negative comments posted on the site, or citing comments which breach the publishers’ own terms and conditions can also be effective.
Whichever the approach, when the commercial and brand stakes are this high, doing nothing is never an option.
And as brands continue to find their way in this brave new world only those which have taken steps to create and preserve their reputational resilience will flourish.