Gauging and Improving Your Brand Reputation with Market Research

Gauging and Improving Your Brand Reputation with Market Research

brand reputation

Brands must constantly track and work towards improving their brand reputation, whether it is a  fledgling business or one with a high degree of brand equity, that is, name recognition and notability.

That is because your brand reputation can make or break your business, given that it is made up of the collective viewpoints of not just your stakeholders, but your customers — the lifeblood of your business. 

You should therefore steer clear of any harmful agents towards your reputation — from negative reviews to word-of-mouth and all else. A company risks losing 22% of business when potential customers find a negative article on their first page of search results. This increases to 44% of lost business with two negative articles and 59% with three.

Conversely, 75% of customers will trust a company with a good reputation more, such as in the form of good reviews, for example. You should therefore constantly monitor and attempt to improve your reputation.

This guide expounds on brand reputation, its importance and how to use market research, specifically survey research to gauge and augment that of your own.

Understanding Brand Reputation

Brand reputation is the idea relating to the public's perception of a company or an organization

This perception is formed by all the actors and agents of a market, which include:

  1. Stakeholders
  2. Investors
  3. Existing customers
  4. Potential customers and your target market
  5. Competitors 
  6. The media 
  7. Virtually all spectators who are aware of your brand 

How the market and all of its actors view a certain brand is determined by their personal direct or indirect experience with a brand. This means that all kinds of interactions with your brand factor into your reputation.

These include direct interactions with your brand, hearsay, advertisements, secondhand communication from the media and word-of-mouth and much more.

Direct interaction doesn’t merely encompass customers who use a band’s products. Instead, these interactions can include: browsing your website, signing up for a newsletter, viewing your social media, buying a product, experiences with customer support and observing how your business treats its customers and employees.

The public can discover how your business traits its customers and employees personally, or indirectly. This means they can also form their perceptions of your brand based on what they hear or read about from others.

When it comes to the latter, there are various external means that form your reputation, that is, those that come from indirect interactions with your brand. You ought to monitor these factors to avoid any negative feedback, which tarnishes your brand reputation. 

The following lists the external factors and means that can harm your brand reputation:

  1. Bad reviews on review sites 
  2. Poor feedback on forums
  3. Negative social media mentions
  4. Negative comments on your social media channels 
  5. Complaints on a major platform such as the Better Business Bureau 
  6. Bad press via articles, blog posts, editorials, press releases, news sites, videos and podcasts
  7. Negative ads targeting your business
  8. Adverse word-of-mouth mentions
  9. Comparisons with competitors that paint them in a better light

On the contrary, when businesses have an excellent brand reputation, it is a marker of a high degree of brand trust. This points to your target market’s willingness to do business with your brand, thereby sustaining it. 

Aside from producing a good product or service, your customer experience plays a major role in your brand reputation. In addition, your employees also help build your reputation. That’s why you need to properly train your employees so that they can develop and maintain a good reputation.

It is primarily through different customers’ experiences that other members of your target market — namely those still deciding — base their decision-making process. 

This experience can involve any stage of the customer buying journey, as customers can form their opinions from both their personal experiences, along with those that come from hearsay, the media and various other sources. 

When it comes to their firsthand experiences, some customers value the post-sales service organizations offer, viewing it as an essential factor in ranking your brand.

The Importance of Brand Reputation

Your brand reputation is crucial for a wide range of reasons. 

First off, it is important for customers to do their research on a business, before patronizing it. They would therefore need to study a brand that already has a reputation. This is why startups and newly established businesses must work towards their brand image as soon as possible after launching. 

This is especially true for those who intend to spend a considerable amount of money, use a business for a major milestone (think a wedding, a birthday, etc.), or use it for a key aspect of their health (think weight loss, avoiding inflammation, etc). 

As such, patronizing new businesses, or any at all ties into customer trust. Customers are far more willing to do business with a company that they trust, as opposed to one with a poor reputation or one without enough information for customers to decide whether it is worth buying from. 

When you gain customer trust, your target market will favor your brand over others, giving you a strong market advantage over your rivals. With it, a domino effect has the potential to take place, driving demand for your business.

With a surge in demand, naturally, your business will have a boost in sales and monetary returns. There are various self-evident reasons as to why this is important for your business, along with less obvious, yet equally important, such as increasing your market share. 

importance of brand reputation

Your business’s financial value will rise, as it correlates with higher demand and sales, both of which are the benefits of a strong reputation. 

Furthermore, it is key to build a healthy brand reputation, as positive brand impressions will lure in more potential customers. This is the by-product of reaping a higher demand for your products and business. As such, a good reputation helps you acquire more customers.

Aside from acquiring new customers, your brand reputation can also help you increase your consumer loyalty. This ties into the idea of customer trust. When customers trust you, not only will they patronize your business once; instead, they’ll be inclined to make repeat purchases.

These are the core of customer retention, the concept that maintains lasting business relationships. When your customers stay with your business for a long time, they grant you a high customer lifetime value, which is the total monetary value a customer brings to a business across their lifetime. This is one of the main benefits of customer retention, which you can establish by maintaining and improving your brand reputation.

It is key to maintain a good reputation, as it also affects the employees of your business. Businesses with poor reputations will suffer higher turnover rates. When businesses have a terrible reputation, they are far less adept at recovering from losing their talent. This is because a bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire.

All in all, it is in the best interest of all businesses to build, track and maintain a healthy brand reputation. 

How to Use Surveys to Measure and Improve Brand Reputation

Building a strong brand reputation is highly bent on satisfying your customers. In order to satisfy them, you’ll need to conduct certain market research techniques, as market research is primarily focused on studying your customers.

Surveys, in particular, give you quick and easy access into the minds of your customers, allowing you to understand their consumer preferences, needs, desires, aversions and virtually all else.

As such, you can use surveys to obtain customer feedback on the way your customers perceive your brand. In doing so, you can evaluate your brand reputation directly from the customers themselves.

But even more important is that by using survey research, you will gain the intelligence necessary to correct any issues that trouble your customers, along with optimizing your products, services and customer experience. 

By removing bugs and improving your entire customer experience, you’ll delight your customers and maintain a solid brand reputation, the kind that will allow you to reap all of the benefits of it. You’ll just need to track it. 

surveys for brand reputation

The following explains how to measure and improve your brand reputation through market research, including survey usage:

  1. Do an internet search of your business
    1. Read review sites, forums, social mentions and all other places that mention your brand. 
    2. Check for long-form content if you operate a major brand, such as blog posts, articles and new pieces.
  2. Conduct secondary market research on your customers.
    1. Pay attention to what your target market responds well to, along with what they dislike and object to.
    2. It’s key to study scandals within your industry so that you can avoid them.
      1. Example: lawsuits, tales of unhappy customers.  
  3. Conduct secondary market research on your competitors.
    1. Make sure to study how your competitors have handled scandals.
    2. Pay heed to companies that fell from grace and how they bounced back, along with those that didn’t improve their reputation. 
    3. Learning from your direct and indirect competitors will help you avoid running afoul your customers, industry and media.
  4. Speak to your customers.
    1. Conduct one-on-one interviews, phone interviews or focus groups to learn more about your customers’ pet peeves, triggers, etc.
    2. In addition, ask them about how they feel about your brand and ask for comparisons with other brands.
  5. Conduct a survey to assess your own reputation.
    1. Based on your prior research, conduct a survey asking customers to reveal their perceptions about your company.
    2. Alternatively, you can begin your research by using a survey alone.
    3. Use a brand perception survey to do so. 
    4. Make sure to ask customers about familiarity with your brand first if you’re deploying your survey to a massive network.
    5. Survey existing customers. In this case, you don’t need to ask about their familiarity with your brand. 
  6. Analyze your market research.
    1. This includes your earlier secondary findings, your direct talks with customers and your survey data. 
  7. Run more surveys if you need more information.
    1. You ought to create follow-up questions and send them to specific people.
    2. Alternatively. You can call customers to discuss their survey results if this is their preferred method of communicating their perceptions.
  8. Take action.
    1. Take action after you consolidate all of your dings, including those of follow-up/additional surveys.
    2. If you find your reputation to be in good standing, don’t make any changes.
    3. Rather continue doing as you were before.
    4. You should also consider creating similar marketing campaigns if your customers put in a good word about them. 
  9. Don’t stop. Continuously track the standing of your brand.
    1. Use the brand tracking survey to assure good brand health.
    2. Additionally, run surveys that track brand visibility, so that your brand has not fallen by the wayside, that is, become forgotten about. 

Creating a Reputable Brand

Building a reputable brand is a must for your business to survive and remain competitive. 

Sustaining a strong reputation goes beyond avoiding scandals and bad press. You’ll need to constantly satisfy your customers and stay relevant in order to sustain a healthy brand reputation. 

Conducting market research with surveys helps you achieve these goals. You’ll need a strong online survey platform in order to carry out all of your research. 

Use an online survey platform that makes it easy to create and deploy surveys to your target market. You should also use a mobile-first platform since mobile dominates the digital space and no one wants to take surveys in a poorly constructed mobile environment.

Your online survey platform should also offer artificial intelligence and machine learning to disqualify low-quality data and offer a broad range of survey and question types.

Additionally, it should also allow you to survey anyone. As such, you’ll need a platform with a reach to millions of consumers, along with one that offers the Distribution Link feature. This feature will allow you to send your survey to specific consumers, instead of deploying them across a vast network. 

With an online survey platform that offers all of these capabilities, you’ll be able to continuously measure and improve your brand reputation, allowing your business to satisfy your customers and remain competitive.