You do not own your brand. You do not own your brand message. You also don’t own your public image. So who does? It’s everyone with a computer and Internet access. Rather than fighting against this notion, you’d be wise to embrace it instead.
With the advent of social media and social networking sites, it has become very easy for anyone to voice their opinion. And that opinion is out there for every potential client and consumer to see. Your brand is up for public domain…unless you take hold of your online presence. If you are a company without an updated website, Facebook page, blog, Twitter account, or YouTube channel, you are in danger of having your brand’s reputation spiral out of control. It is the customer that holds the most influence over your product or service. If they aren’t happy, they will let you know. It is your responsibility to respond quickly and respectfully. People want to know that their voice is being heard and the best way to do this is engage in conversation. That is the smartest way to take control of your brand. Here are just a few brands that went through changes due to feedback from the online community:
- The Gap decided that they needed to freshen up their logo. The new logo was unveiled and met with mass criticism from its customers. Gap, rather wisely, reverted to the old logo. Not all change is good change, as they quickly discovered.
- Another retailer, Ann Taylor Loft, was criticized over the summer about overuse of Photoshop with models on their website. The company listened and featured “real women” wearing their clothing. Now Loft’s Facebook page features popular bloggers styling their favorite Loft pieces.
- Earlier this year, Greenpeace initiated a campaign against Nestle, claiming that their practices contribute to deforestation. Nestle’s initial reaction was threatening to delete comments from anyone on Facebook who used an altered version of their logo. The campaign continued and remarkably, Nestle finally gave in to the public outcry. This statement was released by Greenpeace UK in May of this year: “With nearly 1.5 million views of our Kit Kat advert, over 200,000 e-mails sent, hundreds of phone calls and countless Facebook comments, you made it clear to Nestle that it had to address the problems with the palm oil and paper products it buys.”
The lesson here is clear: you must learn how to share your brand with the public. Doing so will result in positive changes and subsequent loyalty from customers.