How to Master Brand Management Online

Welcome to the world wide wild west of brand management.  Between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, foursquare, YouTube, and your company’s website – and I’m just getting started – clients and customers have dozens and sometimes hundreds of ways to find out information about you and tell you (and the rest of the world) what they think.  How in the world do you tie it all together?

We know that 46% of daily Google searches are for information on products or services, and 20% of monthly Google searches are for local businesses. That’s a lot of searching for stuff!  So much information is being shared back and forth affecting the image of your brand every day.  It’s easy to lose your focus on brand management.

Market perception changes quickly today and even the best companies can stumble.  Last month, Coca Cola unveiled a new holiday can design for their classic soft drink.  The iconic red can was replaced by a snow white color, as part of their ‘Arctic Home’ campaign to raise awareness and funds to protect the polar bear and their habitat.  Within days of product launch the internet was flooded with complaints, from the aesthetic (why would Coke change from red to white?) to the dietetic (too easily confused with the silver cans used for Diet Coke).  This week, Coca Cola announced that it is dropping its plan to continue producing white cans during the holiday season, but still supporting polar bears.

Below you can find some best practices for managing your brand online and protecting you and your company’s online reputation.

1.  Find out where your customers are: There are many places you can be found online, but where are your customers?  Find out where your customers like to hang out and direct your online marketing toward those places.  Are your customers using social media on the go?  Then foursquare may help spread the word.  Do your customers like to share how much they love your product?  Use your Facebook page to encourage information sharing with your community.

2.  Find out who your customers are:  We know they like your product or service, but what else do they like?  Do they travel, dine out, read romance novels?  The secret of online brand management is connectivity and community.  The more you know about your customers the easier it will be to identify advertising and cross-promotional opportunities to expand your brand footprint.

3.  Spice things up: Ensure that big promotions or other important news are prominently displayed EVERYWHERE online.  You’ve got to be ready to go social.  For example, if you’re offering a contest giveaway, make sure it’s on your website’s homepage, shared on Facebook, and broadcast on Twitter.  By speaking in many places with one voice, you’ll receive stronger participation and turbocharge your brand management strategy.  Wieden + Kennedy’s Old Spice campaign resulted in 247 million YouTube views, 80,000 Twitter followers in the first 48 hours (!) and over 1.76 million Facebook fans.  But the number that really matters is sales, and the Old Spice campaign resulted in an estimated sales increase of 107% in its first month!

4.  Monitor your customer’s online conversations to understand what is being said about you: Good or bad, people are going to be talking about you online (at least, you should hope so).  But monitoring a multitude of online communities can be daunting.  In some forums, you can manage the content and control the message.   On other popular online destinations, like yelp.com and tripadvisor.com, where users can leave comments things can get nasty.  If you are going to respond to negative feedback, it is best to do so quickly.  According to Econsultancy’s State of Social Report, more than half of company respondents (52%) say their organizations use Facebook for reacting to customer issues and inquiries compared to only 29% last year, so it looks like some companies are catching on.  Not sure where or how to start listening to your customers?  Rhino360° is a free monitoring tool you can use to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s being said about you or your brand online.  With Rhino360°, you can monitor over 100 million online outlets ranging from blogs to photo sharing sites to discussion boards.

5.  Hire an online reputation management firm: Brand management is hard to do on your own. That’s where an online reputation management company can help.  At Reputation Rhino, we have the tools to help you create a consistent positive reputation online.  And, if there is any negative content online, we can help you fight back to protect your brand using the latest search engine marketing techniques.

How are you managing your brand online?

We would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

Interact Marketing