Brand reputation management has been one of the most strategic practices for enhancing online visibility and customer loyalty for nearly a decade. Everyone now knows the importance of getting positive online reviews but why is credibility important in business? How can brand credibility scale your business?
Brand credibility is the general public perception and trust associated with your brand. As the prominent author and speaker Harvey Mackay once said, “Don’t confuse visibility with credibility.” So while having a powerful online presence is important, some others and I will argue that what’s more important is having credibility behind your brand’s presence. P.T. Barnum once wrote, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” whereas almost 100 years later Brendan Behan would add “…except on your own obituary”.
The latter is true because, in a digital age where the majority of consumers are researching your brand online before purchasing your product or service if your brand has a bad or poor reputation, your brand will have earned its place amongst the 66% of businesses fail in the first ten years.
Reputation management or ORM is the process of monitoring, influencing and controlling different aspects of a person or brand’s reputation. Reputation management initially came as a byproduct of public relations, but through the growth on the internet, social media, and reputation management companies, Search Engine Results Pages or (SERPS) have become the core part of an entities reputation.
As entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk put it, “If you’re not putting out relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.” Or one of my favorite quotes I give to clients, “If you’re not on page one, you don’t exist,” said someone anonymously.
The importance of brand credibility doesn’t come from online. Brand credibility comes from over the phone through your customer service representatives and your product/service developers in creating quality assets for your brand. The credibility part comes after your brand has earned some positive recognition from the media and customers from ‘doing it the right way.’
Some brands believe they can buy their way to brand credibility, yet, this belief could not be farther from the truth. While reviews play a vital role in both reputation marketing and reputation management, they are only a piece of the overall puzzle. Buying fake reviews and faking publicity stunts are terrible ways to build an online presence and can damage your brand in the long run.
In 2013, Revoo conducted a study discovering that 95% of consumers get suspicious of fake reviews if there are no negative remarks.
However, this doesn’t mean to buy a few fake lower ratings and call it a day. If in doubt, authenticity and vulnerability are key, as they are some of the more reliable indicators of a credible brand.
If you have nothing but five-star reviews that are authentic, showcase these highlights from the standpoint of caring what the customer has to say and your determination to do everything in your power to earn five stars rather than boast about having a phenomenal rating.
The study also revealed that,
Customers spend more than five times as long on site when they interact with bad reviews, trust the reviews they see far more and convert nearly 85% more often.
“Too much of a good thing is a bad thing,” including reviews.
How can having too many 5-star online customer reviews backfire? One thing you should consider carefully is that having too many five star reviews can raise customer expectations to an unrealistic extent.
Upon analyzing more than two years of sales data from a major European online retailer, German professors found that whether the reviews were positive or negative and the volume of each type were the most critical factors in their calculations.
They sifted through nearly 9 million page views and 631,063 purchase transactions for 2.164 different products.
Having negative feedback about your brand’s product or service can be beneficial in terms of profit and brand credibility. According to G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing, “40% of B2B buyers say negative reviews help build credibility for a product”.
If your brand has too many five-star reviews and not enough negative feedback, try encouraging your customers to be blatantly honest in their reviews. Reassure them that their honesty, no matter how brutal, is going to result in delivering a product or service much more desirable for future buyers.
While 97% of business owners agree that online reputation management is essential to their business, 98% say the same is true for online reviews. Today, reviews are becoming the leading source of a brand’s credibility. An overwhelming majority of businesses are concerned about their online presence and how they are using search engines and social media to attract the right customers.
Buyers across all industries are relying on content to research and inform their purchasing decision, yet again, brand credibility starts internally. From there, you can leverage both positive and negative aspects of your brand’s products or services to win more businesses.