The advancement of digital technologies has presented new opportunities and unique challenges for elected officials and campaign brands. Here are four lessons I learned from managing brand reputation for public figures and brands.
1. Brand Awareness and Brand Loyalty
The overarching goal of a reputation strategy is to increase brand awareness while driving brand loyalty in every market serviced by the brand. A reputation strategy requires a responsive approach to adapt to changes in our evolving attention economy and user behaviors in order to effectively message the brand’s core values and unique value propositions.
The common mistakes of overposting and repetitive content are usually the result of a lack of quality brand messaging to gain user permission to sell the specific call to action, which in turn, increases the costs for supporter acquisition and maintenance.
2. Supporter Acquisition Cost and Maintenance Cost
As social capital is measured by the ratio between the size of a brand’s networks and the return of trust from the target markets, the supporter acquisition cost and supporter maintenance cost are key performance indicators for brand reputation in any industry.
The various technical features and distinct cultures on digital platforms have created different patterns of user behaviors and regular market research is key to target market management. Consistent testing of brand messaging and imaging is equally important to mitigating the natural occurrence of user attrition.
With regular market research and testing, a reputation strategy can utilize behavioral targeting and microtargeting to mitigate the rising costs for advertising and media placements across devices.
3. Groupthink versus Multiple Viewpoints
Confusion and perceived shortcomings can easily weaken a brand’s reputation by creating windows of opportunities for competitors or potential opposing groups to take action. The prevalent practice of groupthink in reputation management directly undermines a brand’s ability to assess and respond to potential risks and threats.
A multi-viewpoint approach serves as a check and balance system to minimize reactive situations and enables the brand to objectively assess reputational risks and respond to potential threats in a timely manner. It is the key to preventing disagreements from becoming invective.
4. Leadership and Trust
Leadership and trust determine the success or failure of any reputation strategy. Leadership is the act of taking ownership of the real-time situations and strategy results, and it is a responsibility shared by both the brand owner and the brand manager.
A brand leader is an efficient communicator that encourages candid input from the brand management team and follows through to improve the execution process. A brand owner who is resistant to change creates a brand culture that centers on minimizing risks, rather than maximizing opportunities. Consequently, brand managers often prioritize compliance with directives over initiatives based on user data and analytics.
When leadership and trust are properly cultivated within the brand management team, it allows the brand’s preparations to meet its opportunities.