No business, no matter how large, small or seemingly impenetrable, is free from the benefits or disadvantages of having a good or bad reputation. It can take only one small social media scandal for your profits to dip. Just look how the reason release of the Samsung Galaxy Fold was handled. Sending out test units to online reviewers, many content creators found that the foldable screen could easily break when pulling off a seeming screen protector. This was not told to said creators ahead of time, and so they quite understandably fell into that trap.
From then on, the narrative regarding said phones was that they were a shoddy product, they didn’t work, and that folding phones were a gimmick. Samsung are now on the back foot, are redesigning elements of those models, and will need to re-release them. The business reputation has been somewhat tarnished, and stock value dipped. Even for a company as massive as Samsung, negative perceptions and narrative can stop their expected yearly results dead in their tracks.
But how do you restore a business reputation? Sure, we know it can be difficult to achieve. But is it possible? We would say yes. We’d also like to explore why:
Control The Narrative
It can sometimes be that the narrative gets out of hand when we are the new target among annoyed consumers. This can, unfortunately, lead to things getting blown out of proportion. Any attempt to publicly deflect that narrative, outside of clear statements as we’ll explain below, can seem like an aggressive and overly-defensive stance. This is where it can be important to take a more subtle approach to shift the narrative back in your favor.
Public relations firms continually strive to restore consumer faith in businesses. It happens all the time. Rewarding loyal customers with extra promotions, offering customers that might have left or cancelled their service with ideal return offers, and taking excess pride in the practices your company has gotten write can often let the passage of time heal the issues that were caused in the first place. This can be freeing for every firm.
On top of that, subtle, yet informative marketing could be used to restore your company’s name in the public consciousness. Services such as Fat Joe, which operate as professional SEO firms, can help you wrap your business name within informative content through their excellent blogger outreach. Not only this, but their ability to raise the rankings of search results can help your firm avoid dying out due to a lack of attention, perhaps during a time when a truly aggressive marketing strategy might need to take a breather.
Understand Goodwill Is Valuable
Goodwill is an evasive word and concept. We can’t gift goodwill back to our shareholders. We can’t use it to pay the electric bill, or pay our staff wages. But without goodwill, the glue that ties a business to its audience washes away. It’s very important to consider this as a vital resource. Connect with your customers, listen to them, interact with them, and treat them as more than just people to bat away with a simple defensive statement.
If you can be clear, concise and direct regarding your strategy, honest about what happened and how things were caused, and why this will never happen again, you can get on top of the issue immediately. Some might even respect you more. You can be certain that your goodwill shall not fade as a result. And that’s extremely important to consider and manage.
Fix The Issues
We are living in the age of social media, where slights and issues aren’t swept under the rug. While we are used to political scandals often being forgotten about as the next one comes along, business injuries aren’t as fortunate to enjoy something like that. And that’s a good thing.
Jumping immediately to fix the issues should there be a legitimate concern is essential to helping you restore your name. Otherwise, this can be a black cloud that hangs over you, particularly if you fail to address it. Restoring a business reputation often means just that, restoration. For example, it could be that your product is defunct. Offering a full refund to any proven purchase can help you overcome the damage. However, taking another step forward and offering up to 50% off another purchase at your store can help people see this as less than a waste of time. It can also help you avoid a very costly class action lawsuit by offering the appropriate reparations immediately.
You gain nothing by ignoring the issues, but potentially plenty of goodwill by fixing them.
Sometimes, a negative business reputation can be so bad, you need to rebrand your operations. This might sound like a dark tactic, but it is often used in many industries. Even after fixing the issues and remaining forward-facing about the troubles you face, sometimes it’s not enough.
Starting again with a new business name, a new logo and aesthetic can be important. Of course, you cannot expect to hide your business past – but you might be able to redefine it. Consider how Dominoes once operated in the late 2000s. After many widespread reports that their US Pizza chains were terrible, and that the recipe tasted awful, they embarked on a major rebrand campaign. Of course, they weren’t shy about it and didn’t change their name, but after revolutionizing every recipe on their menu, for all intents and purposes they were a new firm with a new outlook.
You might be able to practice the same idea. Both front-facing marketing promotions such as these or hidden rebrands to help your firm gain some room to breathe, a rebrand might be just the thing you and your business needs to start again with a strong pace.
With this advice, we hope you’re much better able to shake off or restore a bad business reputation. This can be hard to do, but with enough dedication and a cohesive mindset, you can pull it off. Good luck!