What are the do's and don'ts of managing a brand's reputation? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
DO: go through a branding exercise where you define your brand's values, pillars, and promises, along with useful things like taglines, consumer value propositions, and the like. This will help you be consistent with all of your messaging.
Then, think about every level of brand management, which is another way of saying: every point at which consumers interact with your brand. Most people think of social media and website, because those are the obvious points where you get to define who and what you are, but brand reputation is even more complex. It's how you treat your customers, how you handle disputes and mistakes, how you anticipate consumers wants, needs, and desires, and how you align yourself in the marketplace among your competitors, with influencers and partners, and even which charitable causes you work with.
I also believe that being honest and human is the best policy when it comes to managing a brand. In the end, there are people behind the name, and those people help to define the brand and maintain it. But, they're human and imperfect, so missteps will occur. Apologize and move on.
From a marketing and communications perspective, it is also useful to think holistically about how your brand is being viewed and perceived. Not only is it social media and your own website, it's also higher-level media coverage in reputable, trusted outlets that cover your company's leadership team, the philosophies that drive the business and the people who work there, and the values your company (and therefore brand) stands for. This is becoming increasingly important as with all of the choices at their disposal, consumers want to support businesses that they feel have similar ideals and principles to their own.
DON'T: assume that the process will be clean, tidy, linear, or ever really "finished." Brand and reputation management is an ongoing, ever-evolving process of definition and redefinition, and of solidifying what you stand for, which is reinforced by your behavior, not just your messaging. This goes for every person at every level of the company, who must understand and accept which words they should use and why the brand say things a certain way regarding its operations or its value. They (employees and management) are the first line of ambassadors and touch points that, even if informally, represent the essence of a brand.
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