In the pre-digital world, a brand’s reputation management, public relations, publicity and social content were controllable by the brands. It was relatively simple: we could say what we felt was the truth, tell customers about the good stuff, and manage their expectations. However, with the ever-increasing power shift to the customers, we find more and more that our brands are no longer managed by our staff, but rather by the customers.
Consumers have realised the power of voicing their opinions online, they share their experiences and perceptions about brands and are increasingly skeptical of business. The public has come to appreciate their peers’ opinions as facts, viewing them as honest and authentic experiences. To make matters even more complicated, social media has provided customers with a platform to be brutally honest, rant even, if they aren’t getting the service they believe they deserve. So brands are getting more agile in order to deal with the ever-increasing pressure. Jobs have been created specifically to monitor your online reputation and resolve issues as quickly as possible to try and mitigate the brand risk.
But is this really the solution? Just trying to keep up with the customer’s opinions and putting out fires? Perhaps brands should really take notice of what the “on the ground” experiences are, and make some fundamental changes. Rather than fighting these, why not embrace them and formulate a strategy in working together with the public to build a brand and its image?
Kele Rammopo, The Strategy Department
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