Your brand can be a strong factor in whether you succeed online or not. One search at your company name or brand and a potential customer can make a decision whether to push through with buying from you or look at some other company.
Your brand is your identity. Your brand tells your customers why they should buy from you. It is what your brand connotes that makes you successful. Take a look at the world’s most successful brands and you will get an idea of why branding and protecting your brand is very important.
Brands are not just about the company logo, it is the emotional connection between your products and your customers. It is what your products are associated with. For example, Coke has been working hard to associate its beverages with fun and refreshment, while others like Louis Vuitton likes to make you think of luxury when thinking of their brands. McDonald’s, on the other hand, goes for inexpensive yet pleasant experience, while Nintendo goes for family friendly and can be suitable for the home.
The best brands are associated with great value and durability, value for money and reliability, great customer service along with a superior product.
Yet, with the advent of the Internet, your brand’s image can easily be tarnished. It could be a customer warning other people not to buy your products, or some wrong move by your company. Mattel’s Barbie has long been known to be a safe toy for children, and its image was severely tarnished when it was found that its Chinese partner used toxic chemicals, causing it to issue a toy recall involving more than 9.5 million dolls. More than this, parents all over the world avoided buying Barbie dolls until the issue died down and only after Mattel assured the public of more stringent processes to avoid the same incident in the future.
What ways can you take to make sure that you protect your brand online?
- Use Twitter or Facebook and other social networking sites to connect to your public.
One of the best examples of a Twitter-savvy company is JetBlue that monitors Twitter for any mention of the company. They then inform anybody via e-mail that they do indeed have a Twitter account and that you could forward any complaints, questions or suggestions to them via Twitter. But that does not stop there. JetBlue quickly responds to any such requests or inquiries, making their customers feel well-attended to.
- Do not create a Wikipedia listing.
If you have a sterling record or a good image, a Wikipedia entry might bring you some good hits and conversions. However, remember that a Wikipedia entry is easily modified by other people, and people can add a section where other people can post criticisms about your company.
- Think twice before threatening a lawsuit.
If there are some negative comments on the blogosphere about your products, then think twice and wait until you are calm enough before you reply. If you do decide to reply, make sure that you do so with tact. Remember that your replies can either damage your reputation further with the wrong words or pacify the complainant so that you could do some damage control. Using harsh words or threatening to file a lawsuit will only inflame the people further, causing more harm than good.