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Measuring and Improving Brand Reputation through Surveys and Reviews

Uber recorded a high culture of discrimination (sexism) and sexual assault according to a paper published by Susan Fowler. The company appeared in the news a lot for bad press. A highlight of the company’s bad press in 2017 was the resignation of Travis Kalanick as CEO following a growing unethical culture in the company and reports that he ignored sexual assault claims.

Uber was also the subject of several defamatory suits that included an FBI investigation for illegal interference with a competitor, lawsuits from top companies for theft of intellectual property and safety concerns including the lack of proper background checks on drivers which led to the resignation of 13 executives. As if the damage to Uber’s reputation was not enough, the company eventually lost its London operating license in 2017 and 2019 because the company was deemed unfit to keep passengers safe. Uber has however worked out these issues and in 2022, secured a 30-month operating license in London.

Brand reputation is the way people see a brand, it involves everything customers, employees and other stakeholders associate the brand with. Just like in the Uber case, it can fast-track a brand’s growth or lead to very unpleasant outcomes like losing a license to operate.

Brand associations are the result of marketing efforts, employee experiences, customer experiences with the brand during purchase or service delivery, and word of mouth from other people/reviews. This often affects people’s perception of the brand over time.

Seeing how important the brand reputation is, how can you manage or improve it?

The following approaches can be adopted by any brand to make sure that customers, employees and onlookers alike see it in the best possible light.

  1. Proactive Approach: A brand is proactive when there is a step-by-step guide to managing stakeholders in the event of a crisis. A major hallmark of proactive brands is that there are adequate risk management initiatives in place and there is a tracking system to effectively measure what stakeholders are saying and how they feel about the brand.

  2. Reactive Approach: A brand is reactive when there is no system in place to manage any potential risk except in the event of a crisis. The brand in this case is adopting more of a crisis management approach than a risk management approach.

Ideally, a brand should be more proactive than reactive. Brands that rely solely on reactive measures unnecessarily expose themselves to a high risk of serious reputation damage. According to the World Economic Forum, a company’s reputation has an impact on its market value and 87% of executives see reputational challenges as an important risk that should not be ignored. Brands need to constantly engage with customers and other relevant stakeholders to measure how they are being viewed in the minds of people that matter.

According to Edelman 2019, 81% of consumers highlighted trust as the major factor that influences their decision to patronize a brand. Consumers buy from brands they trust and the consumer’s willingness to trust a brand is partly dependent on the brand’s reputation.

In today’s digital world where millennials (who have a strong purchasing power and are always eager to share how they feel about a brand) waste no time in leaving comments online once they are disgruntled, brands need to ensure that their stakeholders are satisfied in every area. These areas include service delivery, financial performance, customer service, product quality and product availability.

According to the popular quote by Waren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

Although it is almost impossible to guarantee 100% stakeholder satisfaction, brands should be aware of what people think about their brand and take the required steps to improve on any review or feedback.

Some of the benefits of tracking a brand’s reputation include:

  1. Brands are able to manage potential issues/crises that may arise swiftly

  2. Build customer trust and loyalty

  3. Drive referrals from existing customers and online reviews

  4. Drive repeat purchase behaviour

The digital world has availed people with a lot of choices and now, more than ever, it is easy for customers to switch from brand to brand by simply reading reviews about a brand’s competitor online. Brands need to do more to retain their customers and acquire new customers and we recommend the use of surveys to measure the satisfaction level of stakeholders. By measuring your brand’s reputation, you will be able to gain contextual and quantifiable insights which can be used to improve the existing reputation of your brand.

We have a portfolio of reputation management survey templates on our platform: Customer satisfaction survey, brand perception survey and lots more. Click here to create an account or sign in and begin monitoring your brand’s reputation.

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