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Tag Archives: Digital Marketing

Google dispels notion of brand consistency

Bridget B. 3 comments

It’s been a minute [Ok, maybe it’s been a month… or two] since my last blog post. Time lapse aside, I really wanted to share my thoughts on Google’s umpteenth transformation.

I am almost certain that many of us have not noticed the incremental changes Google has been making to its logo over the years; a smidgen here and a smidgen there. They’ve tried different colours, they’ve changed fonts, they’ve added things and subtracted things. Today, they have made yet another transformation.

 

The first thing I thought when I saw their post on Instagram was: “Google is certainly dispelling this notion of brand consistency”. Think about it.

Since the beginning of “branding”, we’ve seen the great pride organizations, companies, corporations and people on the whole, take in maintaining their brand identity. Marketers and brand managers invest enormous amounts of resources in ensuring that the company’s font or logo looks exactly the same every and anywhere it can be seen. It must always be consistent.

With the continuos changes Google makes to its brand, I have to ask: What really defines the brand?

I think Google has clearly shown that their brand is far more than the six colorful letters we’ve grown accustomed to. They’ve in fact shown us, their brand is their reputation. Think about it. [Yes I’m asking for a lot of thinking today :-)]

Google has never been one for much frill.The actual search page is quite frankly a blank sheet with a box for entering text. Look at all of their apps–simple. The thing that has given strength to the Google brand is their reliability, their consistency, their quality. Their strength comes from their reputation.

As small business owners, consultants and independent professionals, we have to think about the strength of our brand–not in terms of brand consistency–in terms of brand reputation.

What do your clients, business partners or investors think about you? What are their experiences with your brand? Do they associate you and your brand with reliability, consistency or quality?

Let’s take a page from Google’s book–let the strength of your brand be synonymous with the strength of your reputation.

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Organizational Reputation

Bridget B. 1 Comments

I recently did a research paper which focused on how–if at all–organizations use digital communication tools in reputation management. The results of my study showed that online communication between organizations and their publics is in fact being used as a means of managing corporate reputation. More importantly, I found that specific tactics such as active listening and engaged responses lay the foundation for reputation management via online communication.

Let’s just talk about social media –blogs, microblogging (e.g. Twitter), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), professional networks (e.g. LinkedIn), video sharing 9e.g. YouTube) and content driven communities (e.g. Wikipedia)– these mediums have all significantly altered the way that businesses provide services, interact with their stakeholders and manage their reputations.

Stakeholders now use social media to comment on a company’s actions in public forums. Customers Tweet to companies and expect immediate feedback, investors conduct their due diligence online and employees leave reviews about their experience at the workplace on Glassdoor.com. Recently someone posted a photograph –to Instagram and Facebook– of a store they had visited. This person was basically telling everyone on their friend list not to patronize this store because customer service was terrible. This is how your organization’s reputation can be tarnished online.

How can a business act in a situation such as the one above?

Get on social media and respond. It’s important that business owners be present on social media, not just to market their brand or product, but to listen to what is being said. Use social media to interact with your customers, answer queries, apologize for bad customer service and build strong relationships. In a 2007 study conducted by S. U. Yang, it was found that favorable organizational reputation can be obtained by quality relationship management between an organization and its strategic publics. Put simply, building strong relationships can help you to develop positive perceptions of your organization which by extension influences your overall reputation.

Here are four (4) recommendations which can be implemented if you wish to use online messaging systems to support your reputation management processes:

  1. Utilize online messaging systems to hear and address your stakeholders concerns. These messaging systems facilitate convenient instant communication between your organization and your publics. External stakeholders will not be restricted by your business hours, which usually delays responses and sometimes results in matters remaining unresolved.
  2. Your online engagement team should be trained to actively listen to customer concerns to get an understanding of the underlying issue. Training personnel in active listening helps staff to be alert for cues, which in turn helps determine the root of the issue and can significantly reduce the number of instances where customers feel as though their concerns have not been addressed. Active listening also mitigates miscommunication between the employee and the customer.
  3. Dedicated personnel should be assigned to engage with stakeholders via online mediums. Dedicated team members assigned to social media and online communication will be better prepared for customer interactions. Familiarity of the online communication system can boost efficiency and accuracy of the information communicated to the customer.
  4. All internal departments and teams should share information and collaborate to find customer solutions. Including other departments when developing the guidelines and processes for customer interaction ensures that the correct information is always communicated to the customer, reduces the risk for internal conflict as all departments are on the same page, and mitigates litigation.

Strategic use of social media for communicating with customers can positively impact your organization’s reputation. Employing specific tactics such as active listening, engaged responses and internal collaboration, you can build strong relationships with customers and empower your employees to take the necessary steps to resolve issues.  Remember that strong relationships with your stakeholders can have a significant positive effect on your organization’s reputation.

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About Blog

I blog about communication and marketing strategies for small businesses, consultants and non-profits. I am specifically interested in how digital communication can be used to improve organizational reputation and growth of the business.

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