Brand Reputation Optimization is a new term I am coining. I plan to publish a more detailed white paper as well.
Brand Reputation Optimization is the science of positioning and measuring a brand for long-term sustainability and success. Only what is measured can be measured. Thus, we need the KPIs and metrics for evaluating and optimizing brands.
A brand’s success can refer both to the bottom line ($) and to socially responsible business practices, or corporate social responsibility. Since the web is now the preferred method by which people receive and digest information, brand reputation optimization focuses largely on online practices, often as a catalyst for offline engagement.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has taught us to be proactive in helping people to discover business information online. However, now that every company has established an online presence, and given that the internet is increasingly the medium by which people receive their information, the key to success moves into one of differentiation. Branding will be paramount to win the next evolution of customer mindshare and share of wallet. And just like search engine optimization, there will be new best practices, skills and actions that will be central to this optimization.
The most important aspect of brand reputation optimization is to recognize that people build brands and brands drive revenues. Many a company and business fails to capitalize on its most valuable asset: human advocates. Social networks have taught us the power of passionate users and social media tools have helped us to unleash the power of collective intelligence. The best brands stand for something; a mission that drives an engagement flywheeel.
Brand reputation optimization is both Internal and External. Traditionally the primary focus of brand building relied on external interactions (interactions with media, the public and customers). But the best brands are internally driven. If an organization’s employees and customers do not believe in the underlying objectives and ethics, the brand will not flourish.
External optimizations have largely been Reactive actions. Brand development has focused more on reacting to customer complaints, providing warranty services after something breaks, or increasing transparency only after regulation forces it. However, thanks to the Internet and social media we now have the tools (and the customer demand) to move to proactive brand building.
This new era of proactive branding businesses have an unprecedented ability to engage with constituents like never before. Following Metcalf’s Law: the more people using a given system, the more valuable it becomes.
Now that much of the World’s population is embracing the internet as their primary medium for commerce and information discovery (shopping, dating, research, collaboration, etc ), the need for organizations to humanize themselves and to appeal on an emotional level is paramount.
Brand Reputation Optimization should not be underestimated. The internet will force businesses both engage customers and move to unprecedented levels of transparency.
Personally, I look forward to seeing where this takes us.
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