Reputation management is the process of ensuring that your customers believe that you operate your business with integrity and values. These days, that can be almost as important as their believing your products and services are most valuable. This is why 78% of senior executives in the Middle East see reputation management as being extremely important. 95% rank reputation as being important.
What are the Benefits of Reputation Management?
Reputation management should be a priority for every business. It’s important to focus on this from the beginning, not only when something goes wrong. If you’re wondering if you should worry about reputation management, consider the following benefits:
- Your company will weather scandal better if you’ve established a strong reputation.
- Reputable companies earn higher reviews, leading to more traffic and sales.
- A company with a good reputation will attract reputable vendors and business partners.
- You’ll attract better quality talent.
- Your overall trust metrics will increase.
Most importantly, a solid reputation can improve your bottom line. People are willing to pay a premium to do business with a brand they believe they can trust.
Creating a Reputation Management Strategy
Companies operating in the MENA have unique challenges when it comes to reputation management. These need to be considered, along with general best practices when building your strategy.
1. Remember that Middle Eastern Countries are Non-Homogeneous
If you aren’t native to the MENA region, you may harbor some assumptions that are less than productive. One of these is that each country within this region is generally the same when it comes to culture and values. Yes, there are some similarities that you may see, but the truth is that each country has its own history, business traditions, etc. Some are very conservative, others are much more liberal.
Think of it like this, you wouldn’t take the same approach to PR and reputation management if you were doing business in the United States vs. The Netherlands. You probably shouldn’t approach crisis management in the exact same way in the UAE as you would in Bahrain.
2. Internal Communications are Key
If you don’t communicate well within your organization, your employees aren’t going to carry the messaging you want them to when they interact with customers. This is true always, not just when you are dealing with a crisis. When you foster open, honest, and clear communication, you build faith amongst your workers.
Those workers can really become your best brand ambassadors. Not only are they the ones to talk up your brand, to customers. They will speak positively about your company to friends and family members. This can help draw in new customers, and potentially new employees.
3. Work to Build Positive Associations with Your Brand
Take action to ensure that people associate your brand image with something positive. Learn what values are important to your audience, and prioritize those. For example, if your target customer is concerned with environmental issues, you could adopt some ‘green’ policies, or donate to an environmentally friendly charity. Then, build on that by writing content about your company’s values and activities.
Just remember that it takes a deft touch to make content that really appeals to your audience, and doesn’t appear to be virtue signaling. A copywriting firm such as Studicus can help you produce content like this that appeals to your audience.
4. Create Customer-Focused and Empathetic Customer Service Protocols
There’s no magic trick here. The better you treat your customers, the better your reputation. Loyalty isn’t only built through good products. It is earned through the quality experiences you provide to your customers. Look for every opportunity you have in any customer-facing moment to impress your clients. Likewise, when they have complaints or concerns, make sure the procedures you have in place lead to them feeling valued and validated.
5. Build a Reputation Friendly Content Strategy
Your content is one of the key ways in which you will interact with your customers. A reputation content strategy doesn’t focus on sales and promotion. Instead, it emphasizes providing customers with relevant information, educating them, and meeting their needs. Work hard to improve your writing skills, to present value-added content to your audience.
While crisis control is an important part of reputation management, the best approach to this proactive and multi-phased. Start by developing a reputation as a company that cares about its customers and their values. Offer stellar products and even better customer service. These things are foundational. Finally, build on this with a solid plan of action in case you suffer a reputation endangering event.
Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor at Studicus, SupremeDissertations and a number of platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. At her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine.