Brand Monitoring & Reputation Management in the Digital Age
The current age of digital disruptions defines new requirements for brands and the way they are introduced online. Contributing to a social media feed with appealing content and shining on the web with a pixel-perfect design of a website, social profiles, and banners are not enough for continuous business growth.
Today, many forward-thinking companies realize that business growth and success significantly depend on effective online brand monitoring and timely reputation management. Every word about a brand dropped online can considerably impact the company's reputation, sales, and future success. That's why companies should monitor what people are saying about them, competitors, and the industry to react immediately and protect a brand image.
Brand health monitoring will help your company timely adjust a strategy to new market demands, build customer loyalty, deliver better solutions, and mitigate negative customer experience. It is the foundation of effective brand reputation management in the modern digital age.
How Your Brand Needs to Monitor Itself
Get to know your customer
While the global transition of businesses to the digital space has significantly changed the way customers interact with their favorite brands, it has also given them an opportunity to build strong and long-lasting relationships with each other.
Now, people can interact with companies on social networks, forums, blogs, and plenty of other places on the world web. On the other hand, it allows brands to get to know people from their target audiences better. Armed with a large toolset of online analytics tools, you can investigate their demographics, online behavior, interests, and even algorithms of their purchasing decisions.
Although there are always more subtle concepts that should be researched and included in a buyer persona. Besides all the types of information mentioned above, brand monitoring tools allow you to get precise data about sentiment, the context in which people use products, their beliefs, goals, and predictions.
Level up communication with your audience
Brand reputation monitoring enables companies to level up communication with their customers. The digital era also implies our constant social media connectivity with friends… and beloved brands.
Glued to our mobile devices, we spend much time interacting with the digital world and social networks, in particular. We follow, subscribe, leave comments, and likes. We spark vivid discussions about companies and their products. We address gratitude, questions, and complaints to brands, mentioning them in our posts. We express ourselves posting photos of favorite products, and we connect in massive communities gathered around brands.
The power of social media engagement is huge and incredible. It is the whole typhoon of social media interactions arising around a brand and making up its image, reputation, and success. It seems impossible for brands to track everything and react timely.
However, the right social media brand monitoring tools and techniques make it easier. They help companies set enjoyable communication with a target audience, reply to comments and messages almost instantly, improve customer support, spot negative sentiment, and mitigate risks of brand reputation infringement.
Know your competition
If you are only listening to what's said about your company online, ignoring what people say about your competitors, then you're looking at only one side of the coin and see half of the picture.
Your target audience is not only your own, but it is also shared with plenty of other competitive brands. All of us target the same people, so the audience's feedback and reaction to your competitor's activities should be a particular area of interest for your company.
It allows you to identify what resonates with your potential customers and incline your marketing strategy to practices proven by your competitors. In other words, brand monitoring software enables you to track competitive companies and learn from their mistakes and wins.
Connect with your niche influencers
Similarly to an audience, your niche influencers are targeted by competitors too. Successful influencer marketing is all about how to collaborate with thought leaders and be the first to get to their circles of influence.
Don't wait for competitors to do it instead of you - keep a thorough track of what's happening to your industry online with the best brand monitoring tools. They will help you detect people who are at the top of public recognition and engagement in your niche.
These incredible thought leaders can be the first to introduce your brand to a target audience. They shouldn't necessarily promote your product as their personal choice and preference. Even though just sharing information about your brand with followers, influencers automatically help you to be heard by millions, boost engagement, and let you taste glory for a while.
With brand management software, you can easily identify the most impactful people on the web, find how to connect with them, and discuss cooperation.
Investigate the effectiveness of your content and marketing campaigns
Brand monitoring allows you to research what type of content takes your brand up to the top of target user engagement and popularity on the Internet. Investigate what posts, visual content, and brand messages cause the strongest and brightest reaction on your audience side. These invaluable insights will help you run more effective content marketing and create a viable brand strategy.
Moreover, you can also monitor the performance of your online digital marketing campaigns and offline events. AI-driven technologies like image recognition and logo identification will help you gain insights about places and context, in which people use your products.
How to Conduct Effective Brand Monitoring
Brand monitoring is an excellent way to keep track of every single conversion happening on the web, even if your brand isn't tagged directly. With these simple yet beneficial practices, you will be able to stay in the know about what users think and say about everything related to your company, including its products, marketing initiatives, competitors, influencers, and more.
Here we are going to consider the five essential groups of keywords you should track in your brand monitoring tools to see a complete picture of your brand's position and reputation.
Branded Keywords and Variations
Every brand is like a kid that needs you to keep an eye on it and continuously care about it. That's why the first thing you'll be most interested in is your own company, of course.
Keep in mind that tracking your brand name solely is not enough. You should monitor its different variations. For example, if you work at Nike, you should monitor not only "Nike," but also "Nike.com" and "Nike.inc."
Moreover, your search will be more comprehensive if you include your brand's slogans and catchphrases, like "Think different" (Apple), "Just do it" (Nike), and "I'm loving it" (Mc Donald's). It would be useful if you also tracked variations of your brand name misspellings.
It's crucial to monitor your product names, especially if you want to learn how your newly launched products are accepted by a target audience.
If you're aware of some bugs or issues that occurred with your product and would like to get to know what publicity is saying about this, you should enter your product name and add a phrase that describes a problem, like "iPhone X battery-draining." You could even search for your customers' most repetitive complaints on Google to complement your brand monitoring research.
Product Features and Functions
Similarly, your customers should not necessarily talk about your products directly but mention some of their features and functions in their conversations. That's why it's useful to search for keywords and key phrases that describe your product, like "voice recognition" (if you sell Amazon Echo Dot), "a Hexa-core processor" (if you sell phones), "delivered to a doorstep" (if you provide food delivery services).
It can give you a better understanding of what people face when using your product and ideas of how you can improve it.
Imagine your brand has recently launched a massive marketing campaign, and you'd like to know the volumes of its popularity and evaluate its effectiveness. You can check how people are discussing it on social networks, forums, chats, or mention it in their blog posts.
Probably, users even use some specific tags when talking about this campaign on social networks. You need to type a campaign name or the most popular hashtags to track all this online.
To stay updated with all your competitor's movements online, you should monitor keywords and common search variations related to a competitive brand. You can track everything as if you'd do it for your own brand: the competitor's brand name and variations, product name, product features/functions, and campaign names.
Brand Public Figures
If you are a big brand, you'd probably want to get to know what publicity is talking about your brand's key figures online. For example, your Founder and CEO have recently held a speech, and you'd like to monitor the audience's response to it. You can track the names of your brand's key figures to timely react to the negative mentions and prevent any damage to a brand reputation.
If you want to see a complete picture of your industry and know about what's in your audience's mind, you should monitor not only your branded keywords but also industry-related phrases. It will provide you with many valuable insights about what your audience is expecting from similar products and will let you keep abreast of the latest trends and industry movements.
How Brand Monitoring Helped to Evaluate the Reputation of 4 Most Popular Airlines in the World
Recently, we have conducted comparative brand monitoring research of the four most popular airlines in the world: Lufthansa, Ryanair, Emirates, and United Airlines. This investigation is aimed to evaluate the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the reputation of these airlines in March 2020.
YouScan, a social listening and brand monitoring tool, has helped to get a better understanding of the situation and prove it by real facts and statistics. It has provided valuable insights into a target audience, user engagement, sentiment, trends, and brand reputation threats.
Defining the latest trends
Aina, YouScan's AI-driven assistant, has helped us define the hottest topic that has appeared to be the most intriguing, concerning, and essential for the audiences of all four airlines. It is the Coronavirus outbreak.
Aina's insight is based on an analysis of the most frequent topics in user conversations on social media. You can see the user's most popular post related to a trend if you hover over the top point of user engagement on the graph.
When analyzing current trends of four airlines, we have found out that every top media post on the graph is about the influence of Coronavirus. In the image below, you can see that one of the most trending discussions about Emirates Airlines, for example, is related to Coronavirus too.
This trend is also reflected in a word cloud - a tag cloud that visually represents brand-related keyword metadata that is most often used in media. It gives you an idea about the audience's most actual feelings, concerns, and popular topics of conversations.
In March 2020, the most frequent words in the clouds of each airline are almost the same. Below, you can see a word cloud created for Lufthansa, although it depicts words that penetrate most of the discussions sparkling around three other companies.
These words very clearly and narratively transfer the current mood and concerns of a target audience. They also show that these people are worrying about flight cancellation and issues related to the flight ticket refund caused by the Coronavirus outbreak in many countries.
During March 2020, all the airlines have been forced to cancel flights or apply severe restrictions to carriers in response to coronavirus. These events have been reflected in thousands of users' posts on all social networks.
We have also concluded that the vivid interest in a brand and bright discussions on social media doesn't necessarily mean a positive influence on a brand's reputation. According to our research, all the airlines have experienced a massive flash of conversations on social media on March 16-23. Most of the users' discussions have been somewhat neutral, with a significant part of negative brand mentions.
March 22 has become the top of user engagement for Emirates Airlines. However, what has happened on that day and evoked such a bright audience's reaction?
"On 22 March, Emirates announced that it will be suspending all passenger flights effective March 25 in response to the coronavirus..." - Business Traveller.
This information has been reshared on social media many times and evoked the whole storm of users' discussions.
We have also noticed that the flash of Ryanair's discussions has started a bit earlier, around March 16.
"Over the past week, the spread of the Covid-19 virus and associated Government travel restrictions, many of which have been imposed without notice, have had a significant and negative impact on the schedules of all Ryanair Group Airlines… Ryanair also expects the result of these restrictions will be the grounding of the majority of its aircraft fleet across Europe over the next 7 to 10 days." - Ryanair's official update published on March 16.
This notice explains multiple discussions of Ryanair saturating social networks at that time. Lufthansa and United Airlines have published similar information on these dates and canceled or restricted their flights.
"Lufthansa cuts 95% of its flights as world airlines near-complete shutdown to face coronavirus" - Fortune, March 19.
"Due to government mandates or restrictions in place prohibiting travel, the airline is reducing its international schedule by 95% for April." - an official press release of United Airlines, published on March 20.
It has become the main reason for the sudden increase in users' activity related to these airlines. People have started sharing their concerns, complaints, and questions on social networks.
YouScan's Analytics of Sources shows that Twitter has been the most active social network during this period. 75% of all Ryanair's mentions have appeared on Twitter. The ratio of brand mentions of the other three companies that have been posted on Twitter are nearly the same: 68% - United Airlines, 60% - Lufthansa, and 54% - Emirates. The least of the negative brand mentions have been published on Instagram.
YouScan allows you to compare brands, the number of their mentions, engagement, the share of conversation, and more. All these data are visualized on the easy-to-understand dashboard with graphs, charts, and diagrams.
On this diagram, you can see that Ryanair has gained the most significant part of the share of conversation - 50,4%, while Emirates has taken 26%, Lufthansa - 15,7%, and United Airlines - 7,9%.
When conducting competitor research, we have also made sentiment analysis of these airlines and defined that Ryanair has appeared to get not only the highest rate of the share of conversation on social media but also the largest number of negative brand mentions.
We have conducted a separate sentiment investigation of Ryanair to understand the root of a problem causing negative mentions. It has demonstrated that the second-biggest flash of negative mentions has arisen on the 26th March. After we monitored real social posts with negative brand mentions, we have found out that such the audience's reaction has been triggered by the following Ryanair's politics of prices:
"Ryanair has been accused of ripping off passengers after it was found to be charging £80 more to those rebooking canceled flights. Meanwhile, rival low-cost carrier Wizz Air is still charging €30-€40 a passenger to rebook on flights to Hungary and Bulgaria, or €60 per passenger, per flight to cancel." - published on The Guardian on March 26.
YouScan's analytics of sentiment by sources shows that most of the negative social mentions of all the airlines have appeared on Twitter. It also demonstrates that the rest of the negative mentions have been published on YouTube and Facebook. This information lets us understand that these social networks are the first places where brands should pay attention to timely manage the audience's negative reaction and prevent any damage to reputation.
Target audience insights
YouScan also has an extensive set of built-in tools that allows conducting customer persona research and investigating a target audience.
Analyzing user demographics, the geographic distribution of mentions, sentiment, and visual insights, we have found out that the target audiences of these airlines are similar. According to the statistics, they mostly include young people of 25-34 years old. On average, 60% of them are men, and 40% are women.
What differs them most is the audience's preference for luxurious or low-cost services. For example, people who prefer traveling in a business class are mostly the customers of Emirates and United Airlines.
While Lufthansa and Ryanair are more popular among people who're looking for quality services for a lower cost. This insight is based on the analysis of user comments, brand mentions, and photos published by customers, cabin crews, and official brand representatives on social media.
In the category "Authors" on YouScan, you can track the top influencers that mention your brand or discuss industry-related topics on media. You can define the top authors by mentions, influence, and engagement.
It is a perfect tool that demonstrates what these people are saying about your company, competitors, trends, or any other topics. For example, the influencer's post above cheers up the audience and shows that despite the challenging situation related to flight cancellation because of coronavirus, it is not the time for us to give up and live in fear.
This brand monitoring research has helped us investigate the influence of the coronavirus outbreak of the reputation of four most popular airlines, define root causes of user engagement and negative mentions on social media, listen to what their target audience is thinking and talking about during the latest events, and gain other insights that would help these airlines manage the audience's negative reaction and avoid many damages to a brand reputation.
At YouScan, we hope that these brand monitoring insights will help you open a whole new world of incredible interactions with your target audience, get precious information about your customers, products, and competitors, and build a powerful brand-building strategy based on a data-driven approach.
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