Building a brand is a challenging task since it requires a good plan and a lot of work for a business. This is particularly true for new businesses that started during the pandemic. Businesses should earn the trust of their customers by offering high-quality products and a consistent brand message.
When businesses earn their trust, they can start building their brand integrity. Brand identity affects the way the market perceives the products and services that a business offers. It reflects the identity that businesses want to show to their customers.
While building a brand can be daunting, maintaining it is another story. The trust a business earns from its customers can break due to a single misstep by the business. If the business does not handle the situation properly, it can lose its integrity in the eyes of its market.
So, businesses need to take steps to maintain the integrity of their brand online. Here are the things that businesses can do to maintain their brand integrity.
Select the Right Products
Businesses should make sure to select the right products to offer in the market. They should avoid creating negative impressions for the brand when they offer new products to protect their brand identity.
For instance, IHOP attracted criticism after offering burgers on its menu and changed its logo and name as part of its announcement. Customers said it was moving away from its roots of offering breakfast items. While the company later revealed that the name change was temporary since it wanted to promote its new product, it did not sit well with its market.
Businesses should focus on offering products that are consistent with their identity. If they plan to offer new products that are not consistent with the brand, they might want to rethink the plan. Doing this can erode the foundations of the trust of their customers and affect their overall identity.
Develop Brand Guidelines
To ensure the business and its employees consistently represent the brand, the business should develop brand guidelines. The guidelines allow the business to build a brand identity that its customers can recognize. It also makes the brand identity consistent and engaging to its market. The brand guidelines that the business develops should cover how it uses its logo, the images it shows, and the dominant colors it uses.
The business should also maintain a consistent online and offline identity. This can increase its recognizability in the eyes of its customers when they visit the physical and online stores of the business. Consistency reduces the chances of a disconnect and strengthens the brand integrity of the business. To ensure this happens, the business should include it in its brand guidelines, and its employees should know and practice it when dealing with its customers.
Monitor the Brand Online
With consumers going online for their needs, businesses should monitor how their customers interact with them online. Businesses should find ways to communicate with customers who talk about their brand. They should monitor and respond to reviews customers give about the brand on their website and online marketplaces.
The business can focus on doing the right things and avoid playing dirty, especially on the internet. Once they stray from their brand guidelines, businesses can expect a backlash from consumers online. Businesses should avoid making themselves look unethical to the market they want to attract. So, they should focus on understanding the comments of their customers and find the reason behind a bad review.
Businesses can also hire a company offering a negative SEO monitoring service. These companies provide continuous protection against social media spam and check for potential penalties that search engines impose on the brand. They can also remove any penalties that the brand might incur to maintain its ranking on the search engine results page.
Prioritize the Customers
Businesses should also prioritize their customers so that they can maintain their brand integrity online. When they engage their customers, businesses should demonstrate that they are sincere in trying to help them. With this, they can build a trusting relationship with their customers, which benefits the integrity of their brand.
They should stay true to their identity and fulfill whatever promises their brand offers to the market. Businesses should also avoid dropping the ball when providing quality customer service. If possible, they should go the extra mile to meet the needs of their customers, which can result in a better customer experience.
Maintaining brand integrity online is challenging for any business, especially during a pandemic. But it is essential so the business can stay afloat and even expand in the future.