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Despite all your sleek brand activations, customers will develop their own understanding of your brand based on what they encounter online, not only the experiences that you have designed for them, but everything your employees, partners, advocates, detractors and others say about you in social media, review sites, etc. In short, your brand’s digital presence consists not only of your own branded digital footprint, but also all the things others are saying about you online.

Let’s look at those two categories: Your Digital Footprint and What Others Say About You.

Your Digital Footprint

When a customer is at the point where they are actively seeking you out online, everything that they find should elevate your brand and provide a responsive and helpful experience. It is difficult to convince a prospective customer that your goods or service are going to be a pleasure to use if they have to wade through a swamp of abandoned, fake, or just bad online assets to get there. You will certainly need a strategy to proactively manage your online footprint, but at some point early in the process while your strategy is still taking shape, you need to conduct a digital audit.

Social Media Monitoring

Traditionally, CMOs and Communications teams had seen their brands as something that they constructed and controlled. There were always instances when a journalist might release a story about the company, but even in those cases there were relatively limited outlets, and journalists often contacted the company prior to publication.

But in the era of social media, where everyone is a publisher, and discussions about a company can quickly escalate, the traditional approach is no longer sufficient. Now brand perception is a complex amalgamation of everything that everyone is saying about you.

This Is Just Step One.

Auditing all your online assets, setting up an application and approval process for new digital initiatives, and creating a social listening program can seem like daunting tasks, but they’re essential to brand protection in today’s digital world where the majority of the customer experience takes place online. This “Discovery Phase” will provide substantial insights into the health of your brand. Then the fun begins. You can now start to strategize and engage to help strengthen your brand’s reputation. Because you have already done the legwork, you are perfectly positioned to monitor and optimize your efforts, engage with your audience, and better manage your brand online.