No business ever wants to be thought of in a negative light. But it happens, from bad products to poor processes, and consumers instantly connect a company to something unfavorable. And the unfavorable not only results in bad press but could also translate to declining sales — and perhaps worse, negative perception that closes the business.
A positive brand image carries a lot of weight. No matter what you’re selling or providing the market, positive consumer impression is crucial to your success or survival in a challenging economy.
What is a positive brand image?
Positive brand image is all the favorable associations, views of your consumers about your brand. These positive associations may be safety, integrity, credibility or joy. So when a buyer chooses your product or service over the competition, they’re not just buying what you’re offering; they’re also buying into what your brand represents.
Establish a positive brand image, and you’re certain to see lucrative effects that take your company from small to big, and maybe even into history.
So how do you develop it?
How do you build a positive brand?
Every business is different, and so not all strategies will work for all. But some approaches are fundamental.
Consider the following tactics to building your positive brand image:
Build a good brand identity
In contrast to brand image, brand identity is how you want to portray your business. It’s how you identify yourself versus how the customers perceive your brand. Identity you have full control over whereas image you’ll have less.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some influence over it. And it starts with a solid brand identity, which is summed up through your overall look and how you communicate. Consistency in your visuals and communications may sway how customers perceive you; without it, customers have no reference point except for one-time interactions with your company. You do not want one-time bad experiences to determine how customers perceive your brand.
Start from within the organization
Your customers will not have a favorable impression of your business if your own people have a negative one. So it’s crucial to establish brand values within the organization, and to make sure it’s communicated from the top down; senior leadership must set a good example, setting the tone and the delivering on the promise of the business.
Every employee in your company should, ideally, be a brand ambassador. When the employees believe in the business they work for, customers will take it as a good signal.
Produce compelling, engaging content
Twenty years ago, this may have meant your TV commercials or newsletters. In the internet age, it refers to the copy found on your website, social media platforms and external sites, like partners and influencer sites.
Modern consumers are savvier and want more information before making purchasing decisions. And they’ll start with an online search. When your search engine optimized content appears on the first page and the article is compelling and engaging, you could drive favorable actions — from an inquiry to a sale.
Monitor online conversations about your brand
Online chatter can take off in the wrong direction, especially when corporate espionage or sabotage is involved. You may not have full control about how some people talk about your products or services. But you do have control over how you react to it. And the first step to reacting better is to know what negative conversations about your brand are taking place.
Fortunately, you don’t need to do this in painstaking steps. Use tools like Hootsuite or Brandwatch. It would help to have a crisis plan in place before any bad chatter occurs.
Be true to your brand and deliver on your promise
So much of negative impressions happen when consumers experience the opposite of what the business promised. That could be reliable products or attentive service. This step is closely tied to how well you enforce the brand values within your company.
If your customer service agents, for example, are not committed to what you promised customers, they’re not likely going to resolve issues or deliver solutions.
Customers think favorably about any brand that takes care of its employees and consistently provides good products or reliable services. Yes, one bad customer experience may not have a big impact. But left unresolved, and it could influence other consumers. In a time when bad reviews work fast online, you need to make sure your company is always providing what it promised the market.
A positive brand image is valuable. But it takes hard work and time. Develop it now, and you may reap the benefits soon enough.