I’ve been throwing around the idea of ‘brand reputation’ and its relation to social media without really clarifying why brands need to pay attention to this intangible asset in the digital landscape.
Charles J. Frombrun’s book, Reputation: Realising value from the corporate image, has been useful in providing a theoretical framework for how companies not only compete for market share through strategic positioning, but also for reputation.
Winning brand reputations provide competitive edge and privileges.
We trust companies we respect and are familiar with. We willingly pay for their products, believing the products are more likely to fulfil our expectations that the products of lesser-known companies.
A great reputation is difficult to imitate and limits what rivals can do.
It is derived from the company’s identity and it creates wealth.
But reputation also comes with responsibility. There are raised expectations for the brand to live up to its reputation and a brand’s reputation must be managed by building strong relationships with its stakeholders. When the brand serves it’s stakeholders well, its name becomes a valuable asset that creates reputational capital or brand equity.
In a digital context – with increased transparency and information access – reputation is playing a big role in keeping brands ‘honest’ and forcing them to make more definitive actions to build relationships audiences who are talking to them online.
So who is doing it well online? Coca Cola continues to build its reputation online with the integration of social media sites such as Facebook as a means of building closer ties to their customers. They have created a common space for their customers to congregate and share their stories about their experiences with the brand and in turn create a stronger brand identity. How do we know they are doing it well? Over 51m page ‘Likes’, over 1m talking about this, and active engagement from customers on all posts.
Which highly reputable brands can you think of that have been doing well online?