May 2021 | by Lili
According to the study titled The Impact of Reputation on Market Value, “one of the most familiar, but least understood, intangible assets is a firm’s reputation.”
Truer words have never been spoken. Because everybody knows what reputation is, and many people think they know how to build one for their company. Whether that’s true or not is another story, but in any case, putting an exact monetary value to a brand’s reputation is very hard.
Simply put, a brand’s reputation is how it’s viewed by people. The basis of this is the image the brand projects of itself. A brand image is usually created by very conscious decisions and is based on countless hours of research.
However, this is only the beginning. Customers, stakeholders, employees and partners all form their own idea of a brand based on its own image and their interactions with the brand. These “personal brand reputations”, when voiced publicly, contribute towards the general common reputation of the brand.
Image: Thoughtfully arranged flowers in a flower shop
Lately, the internet in general and social media in particular have largely contributed to the rapid sharing of ideas, including thoughts on brand reputations. The words of Warren Buffett have never been more accurate: “It takes twenty years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.”
Whether a customer’s death caused by inadequate food labelling, unfortunate remarks by a CEO, or doctored diesel engine emission results, the consequences for brands can range from mild embarrassment to utter devastation.
But in many cases, a brand’s reputation can be at stake even when it does absolutely nothing to deserve it. Read on to find out how.
As mentioned earlier, slapping an exact monetary value on a brand’s reputation is harder than it sounds. But, as Elizabeth Arden so elegantly put it, “Reputation makes customers.” Many brand executives are aware of this fact, which is why 87% of them believe that problems with reputations are more important to deal with than other strategic challenges.
Image: Dining room in an elegant restaurant
In fact, researchers at Weber Shandwick found that reputation makes up about 63% of a brand’s market value.
While this figure is not exact and may vary from company to company, we can see how a boost or fall in reputation affects a brand’s popularity among its customers.
On the other hand, bad publicity like dragging an innocent passenger off an overbooked flight usually leads to dire consequences. After this specific incident, United Airlines faced a 69% drop in ticket sales.
When your brand’s reputation suffers a blow like that, the first thing you do is turn to damage control. Apprehend the culprits who acted inappropriately, issue a public apology, offer compensation to the victim, and many other courses of action are suitable to right a public wrong.
But what if it wasn’t you who did the wrong?
Unfortunately, the actions of others can often have a significant impact on a brand’s overall reputation. In fact, damage to any brand’s reputation can come from highly unexpected sources. Like scalpers hoarding your products and reselling them to customers for a small fortune. Or any random seller on Amazon.
As mentioned earlier, a brand’s image and reputation encompass everything that can influence people’s thinking of the brand. This of course includes the way the brand presents its products or services in shops. But what about online?
With the diminishing importance of physical retail, e-Commerce is taking an ever larger part in people’s shopping habits. This means that online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay are increasingly taking over the part of physical stores in the process of displaying - and thus, representing! - a brand’s products.
And here’s where it gets difficult. Because your physical shop naturally corresponds to your carefully crafted image. The way you receive customers and display your products is entirely up to you, which makes your brand’s presence in your own store flawless. But can you expect the same sentiment from online marketplaces?
Well, you should be able to. After all, the marketplace is supposed to be an intermediary; a means that enables customers to get to your products in the online space. Nothing more, nothing less.
But unfortunately, online marketplaces provide opportunities not only to brands and customers, but to many other actors with a lot less honest intentions. People who sell counterfeits, grey market products, and many others contribute greatly to the distortion of your flawless online and marketplace appearance, hurting your overall brand reputation in the process. But how does that happen?
When a customer searches for a brand’s product, they usually type the name into the search bar. The marketplace then displays all relevant results. If you’re lucky, the customer only gets to see your original products.
But, more often than not, products offered by dishonest sellers slip into the search results. This not only allows customers to actually purchase products that may infringe on your brand’s copyright, but it creates a distortion in your brand’s image that can have far worse consequences than you’d initially have thought.
Think of it this way. Would you allow a random person to come into your physical store, mess up your display and offer their own, far inferior and most likely copyright infringing products to your customers? I guess that’s a hard no.
Image: Discounted boots and shoes thrown together on a rack
So if you don’t allow it in your physical store, why would you allow it online?
It’s true that you have less control over how a third party, in this case an online marketplace displays your products. For example, you can’t change their software, their colours, the way they operate.
But there are a lot of things you can and definitely should change to ensure the flawless online and marketplace presentation of your brand. No, you don’t need to go knocking on Amazon’s door. All you need to do is set up a comprehensive online brand protection program.
An important goal of globaleyez’s services is ensuring our clients’ flawless presentation online and on marketplaces. For this purpose we have developed excellent working relationships to nearly all major marketplaces.
Our domain, social media, marketplace, and image monitoring services give us a clear picture of a brand's online presence. Should we find anything that could potentially disrupt the perception of our client (like fraudulent offers, grey market or copyright infringing products), our test purchase and enforcement services ensure we learn exactly what we’re dealing with and initiate takedowns of the infringing listings.
A flawless online and marketplace presentation greatly contributes to a brand’s overall reputation. After all, with the increasing role of e-Commerce in our everyday lives, the online space may be the only one where customers encounter a brand. Which means that a distorted representation online may lead to dire consequences for the overall perception of any brand.
Don’t accept a clunky marketplace presence plagued by copyright infringing products. Reach out to us and let us show you the way to flawless online and marketplace presentation of your brand.