“Brand Reputation Optimization” is a new term that I am coining. I encourage you to read this introduction, to email it to a friend and to discuss it with me. I will also be publishing a more detailed white paper on the same subject.
Brand Reputation Optimization (BRO for the acronym lovers!) refers to how an organization best positions its brand for long-term sustainability and success. Success in this case refers both to the bottom line and to applying socially responsible business practices sometime referred to as corporate social responsibility. Since the web is now the preferred method by which people receive and digest information, BRO focuses primarily on online practices though it often complements, or is a catalyst for offline engagement.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) taught us that we can be proactive in helping people to discover companies and information online. However, now that every company has established an online presence, and given that the internet is increasingly the medium by which people receive their information (thus evolving their perceptions and first impressions) the ‘key test’ becomes that of brand distinction and differentiation. As it turns out, like search engine optimization there are best practices and concrete actions that can be taken to distinguish and optimize your brand.
The most important aspect of BRO is to recognize that people build brands and brands drive revenues. Many a company and business fails to capitalize on its most valuable asset ‘â€œ its own people. Social networks have taught us the power of passionate users and social media tool have helped us to unleash the power of collective intelligence often by breeding innovation organically. Passion drives engagement.
Brand Reputation Optimization has two central applications: Internal and External. Traditionally (and bound to continue going forward) is the primary focus of brand optimization on the external (such as interactions with media, the public and customers). Still it is important to reiterate that brands are in fact internally driven. If an organization’s own people to do not believe in the underlying objectives and ethics, the brand will never flourish.
External optimization can be further segmented into Proactive and Reactive Actions. Traditionally, brand development has focused more on reactive actions such as responding to customer complaints, providing warranty services after the sale, or increasing transparency practices after Sarbanes Oxley. However, thanks to new technologies (in particular social media) we now have the opportunity to focus on building brands proactively.
This new era in brand building is largely made possible by an unprecedented ability to provide online engagement in a way never before possible (think Ajax interface and social media functionality). Following Metcalf’s Law, ‘the more people using a given system, the more valuable it becomes.’ Now that much of the World’s population is embracing the internet as their primary medium for interactions (shopping, dating, research, collaboration, etc’ ) the need for organizations to humanize and to appeal to people on more of an emotional level (as opposed to simply through the use of static text and image) is paramount.
The importance of Brand Reputation Optimization should not be underestimated and I look forward to seeing new applications of this concept going forward.
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