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Managing Brand Reputation in an Online World

James Coleman

Feb 27, 2020

Last month Meltwater Canada hosted a client event in Montreal, during which communication professionals had the opportunity to hear from industry experts on the topic of managing brand reputation in an online world. Quebec has quickly become Meltwater Canada’s fastest-growing market, due in part to the fact that Meltwater is the only locally available solution to offer social listening, engagement, influencer marketing, and audience segmentation on one platform. 

The roomful of professionals braving Montreal’s cold pondered what to make of this and other insights that emerged over the course of the hour-long panel discussion. The panel discussion consisted of many insights and tried and true strategies from Brand Strategist, Kathy Acimovic, and Head of Communications at Essilor Canada, Lina Betancourt. 

Several of the evening’s insights follow:

Here’s why you should care about your followers 

Unlike earlier technologies, social media is unique in unlocking valuable insights into your most dedicated followers, who often double as your most engaged customers. There’s great value in learning about their behaviors and seeing where these correlate with your brand values.  Think about your ideal consumer and compare this with other insights available to you, and correct your course as needed.

People are talking about your brand and influencing your reputation

One of the evening’s panellists spoke about wanting to understand what makes people care about a brand, and concluded the common thread is reputation. People engaging in conversations about a brand online, and endorsing that brand, play a large role in conditioning whether others care about that brand as well. 

Before the advent of the internet and social media, consumers didn’t directly approach companies to learn more about them. Today, in contrast, companies have been given an incredible opportunity to engage these consumers in a direct conversation.  

The need for audience segmentation: reality meets expectations

Your top customer segment is typically fewer in number but higher in value and influence. You might begin by focusing on the needs of this high-value segment, before proceeding to look at others. A second approach is to value the people you see reflecting your personality. For example, if you’re a wellness brand, you’d prioritize people whose lifestyle is wellness-focused.

Audience segmentation is critical — regardless of your priorities, consumers expect you to tailor your efforts to a variety of audiences. With so much data and intelligence available at your fingertips, they consider this a given. If your brand is unable or unwilling to cater to different audience segments, they’ll waste no time finding another brand to connect with. 

Know where you want to go and how to chart your progress. 

What are the measures that will help you get your brand to reach its goals? Let’s say you’re a small brand and you want to increase your awareness and reach. Now imagine you’re an accessibly priced brand with aspirations of becoming more upscale. The measures you track will be marketed differently. The one thing they both have in common is the need for tracking your progress. 

Don’t discount the value of intuition—or vendor support 

Where data, metrics, and machines leave off, instincts step in. Trust yourself to know what’s relevant and what’s not. If you still feel lost, ask your vendor for help. When using data tools or platforms, one panellist said she leans heavily on the people behind it to help her decide what’s noise and what isn’t. 

No brand is an island 

Approaches that used to capitalize on customers unfamiliarity with foreign places and fashions are no longer nearly as effective. Quebec consumers are no different than consumers in the rest of the world in terms of their ability to access the world on their phones and through all of the various digital channels. 

The power of social 

Social media has made the visual properties of brand messaging so much richer than before. Understanding that visual literacy and just how far brands can take things presents a huge opportunity for Quebec businesses. Social shows no signs of slowing. 

 This blog piece covers key takeaways based off a recorded transcript from the event. Please note this is a summary of the discussion and not the speaker's actual verbiage.