The Internet is still growing by leaps and bounds, with millions of companies vying for the attention of billions of online shoppers. Without a well-established, well-developed brand, your website is likely to just be left among the heap of other websites that advertise similar or identical services or products. So it pays to keep in touch with ways to ensure that your brand remains strong and successful. Even brands that are already established can be strengthened and boosted by several useful brand-building strategies such as website redesign, product rebranding, domain name changes or tweaks, global outreach, local ads, and social media marketing.
All of these strategies can be very useful in helping to ensure that your brand is widely recognized. But having a strong brand isn’t all you need to succeed—you need to be sure that your brand is managed well. Thanks to the explosion of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace, the millions of people who used to be browsing the Internet and reading ads are now able to discuss those ads, and talk about those companies. This can be a wonderful thing in terms of getting your brand out there and encouraging good buzz that will draw people to your site. But as with most great new Internet advances, there is a dark side as well. Disgruntled customers, uninformed consumers, or even competitors can take advantage of these sites to create their own blogs and spread rumors or false information online about your company. Negative information about your company only has to be forwarded a coupe of times before it spreads like wildfire throughout the Internet, and instead of your advertising ranking high in search engines, the negative information might actually gain more media exposure. This becomes a common problem with larger brands where even the slightest negative post my get linked to millions of times in the course of a few days. This can be difficult to combat but strategies are available to help minimize the visibility of negative search results. Remember, Google doesn’t care who you are, they just care that that the results they display are use relevant (positive or negative).
Customer service departments and public relations managers can’t rely on just building a brand and hoping that people have good things to say about it. Because social media sites and new consumer-generated media (CGM) outlets are cropping up regularly, it is vital for you to stay on top of the social media buzz and be sure that the information out there about your brand is accurate and paints your company in a positive light. Monitoring all of these sites can be time-consuming and costly for companies to handle on their own, but there are media monitoring services available that will be sure your brand is protected. A comprehensive list of these services along with some commentary on how they work and user stories will be coming shortly.
If you’ve put a lot of time, effort, and money into building a solid brand with a good reputation, you can’t just assume that the brand will continue carrying itself and succeeding. Be sure that you monitor what’s being said about your company, and be sure your online reputation is as solid as the brand you worked so hard to build.