Whoever said “All publicity is good publicity” lied.
The only truth in it is that bad publicity can bring attention to your brand and expand your reach.
However, first impressions (and every impression) after that can last. So, if your brand is associated with negative traits and concepts, it can be difficult to change that perception.
There are several factors influence brand association, including:
- Brand identity and messaging
- Brand assets, such as logo and colours
- Customer experience
- Word of mouth
- Social media presence
You’ll notice that most of these factors are controlled by the brand itself, which is good news. This means that brands play a key role in how consumers perceive them.
It also signifies that if the association with your brand isn’t particularly positive, you have the potential to change it.
1. Have a robust branding strategy.
Your branding strategy is a key pillar in building a positive brand association.
For starters, you want to have a strong brand identity. This means knowing your mission, values, personality, unique brand positioning, and voice. If there isn’t much clarity on these, you may leave consumers to make their own guesses, which may not be accurate or favorable.
Your brand identity will then impact your brand assets, namely your logo and brand colors, which tell a story about your brand.
Brand association refers to the qualities, traits, emotions, or concepts attached to a business. It’s typically what pops into a consumer’s mind when thinking about the brand, and it may not accurately reflect the company.
2. Review all customer touchpoints.
Think about how you interact with your target audience. Online, this includes social media, your website, email, chat, and even on business review sites.
How you nurture your community can play a big role in how they view you. The same goes for how you address unsatisfied customers who voice their concerns on social media, or those who ask questions.
Offline, this looks like phone conversations, in-person meetings, and in-store interactions.
3. Consider your partnerships.
The brands and influencers you partner with are also reflections of your brand.
Nowadays, consumers expect brands to be more vocal about social and political issues. This also means being vocal when staff or external partners exhibit behaviors deemed socially unacceptable.
It’s why we often see brands sever ties with celebrities and known figures with whom they had ongoing marketing campaigns. As such, be selective about who you collaborate with.
4. Identify threats to your brand.
After strengthening your brand strategy, there’s still more work to be done. You have to be proactive about identifying and neutralizing threats to your brand. This can happen on both small- and large-scale.
On a small scale, this can look like responding to a negative review on Yelp. On a big scale, this can be responding to reports of discrimination within your business.
Social monitoring and listening will be instrumental in keeping your eye on the ball and making sure that you have a plan in place when a threat to your brand shows up.
Building a positive brand association is a never-ending process as your company grows and evolves. The great news is, the biggest factor influencing your brand association is you.