Your brand image represents everything your company stands for. From the content it posts on social networks to the way it responds following a controversy, your brand image shapes the way consumers interact with and view your company.
But how do you develop a positive brand image? For some companies, the process is much easier than others - treating employees with respect, addressing consumer concerns as they arise and avoiding controversial decisions can contribute to a positive image.
If you're looking to boost your brand's image, or learn about the ways you can further improve your day-to-day operations, consider how the following can affect your small business.
Crafting a company culture
Whether you realize it or not, your employees can be some of the most influential brand ambassadors at your disposal. Workers who are treated with respect and genuinely enjoy coming to work have the capability to significantly improve how your brand is seen in the public's eye. Not only are the attitudes of happy employees evident among consumers who visit your store in person, but these feelings translate to virtual audiences as well.
Over the past several months, websites that ask workers to anonymously rate their employers have sprung up. Sites like Glassdoor not only offer potential job applicants a better glimpse into company culture, but the open forums also allow your consumers to see how employees view their treatment. Developing a positive work culture is crucial for boosting your overall brand image, especially with regard to how your company is viewed on the Internet.
Sifting through social networks
People who interact with your brand via Facebook or Twitter expect instant gratification, and while it's not reasonable to expect your company will be able to respond to all comments or concerns as they arise, your business should place a heavy emphasis on timeliness. Companies that address problems head-on and in a swift manner are more likely to be viewed positively by their consumers, even if the concern was negative.
It's imperative that you keep an eye on all your social networks during the day, responding to concerns to the best of your ability as they arise. However, it's equally important that you don't just provide fluff to your followers - they'll be able to tell the difference between real responses and canned ones.
Navigating the tough calls
Part of maintaining a positive brand image is making those tough calls that may impact your sales. This may include releasing vendors that have been embroiled in controversy or turning down potential clients if their requests go against your brand's values.
To keep your brand image positive in the eyes of your employees and consumers, it's important to heavily weigh these decisions as they arise. While some big sales may have a significant monetary impact on your business, you must also consider how it will impact the way others view the brand. Sometimes you can find a mutually beneficial arrangement to best serve both parties, but you must be comfortable with turning down more controversial deals if you're interested in keeping a more reputable brand image.