In a brand-centric world where social media is playing an increasingly important role, the importance of brand and reputation management isn't an aspect of marketing and public relations that business organisations can afford to overlook.
With that in mind, what is brand and reputation management and why are they as important as they're made out to be?
Brand management, as defined by Investopedia, is “A function of marketing that uses techniques to increase the perceived value of a product line or brand over time.” It's important to engage in because it a) enables businesses to command higher prices for their products and/or services and b) helps to build a loyal customer base through brand associations and awareness.
Reputation management is defined by businessdictionary.com as “Activities performed by individuals or organizations which attempt to maintain or create a certain frame of mind regarding themselves in the public eye.”
Online innovations that aid brand and reputation management
There have been a number of excellent online brand and reputation management tools launched to aid business organisations in better managing their brand and reputation with the aim of building a more loyal customer base, furthering awareness of their brand and enhancing their reputation in the eyes of the general public.
One of the first free tools available to businesses is the ‘Me and the Web' tool on the Google dashboard. This tool aids Google users in managing their online identity by managing search results with their name and not only what they've posted, but also what others have posted about them.
Five brand management tools
Here are five free brand management tools, most of which you're undoubtedly familiar with.
Along with the Google app abovementioned, you can also use Google Alerts to set a ‘comprehensive alert' which notifies you when your business name is cited.
This is a tool for monitoring blog comments and is extremely useful as a brand management tool.
In addition to Twitter Search – a manual search tool – you can also use Twilert and TweetBeep.
By using boardtracker.com you will receive instant alerts from threads on discussion boards that mention your business name.
This is a social aggregator that enables you to take all your social accounts and combine them into a single feed.
Five reputation management tools
A major part of managing your business brand and reputation online involves using data and analytics to draw conclusions that enable you to make informed decisions.
An excellent tool for social media management, Brandwatch also enables you to monitor keywords relevant to your business.
An easy to use tool, Technorati enables you to track your blog posts and find out who's linking to them.
Naymz's provision of a ‘RepScore' based on your social influence – calculated by social sharing indicators – and how people find your brand is extremely useful.
Not only can you find out what people are saying about your business, it also enables you to understand how ‘influential' they are.
This is an excellent tool for managing your business reputation among different demographics and even different languages.
In addition to what's been discussed here, bear in mind that there's more to effective brand and reputation management than what you do online and that there are other tools available to you that you should be using to provide better customer service standards.
Providing your customers with outstanding customer service standards is one of the best ways to effectively manage the reputation of your business brand.
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