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"Protect Your Brand Reputation at Any Cost"

Today building brand and achieving a top-of-the mind awareness are not enough to create and sustain market share. One has to go beyond that in order to consolidate it’s position in consumer mind by protecting it’s brand equity. And the task of ‘brand protection’ is more difficult than building it during difficult times.

‘Brand protection’ strategies needs to be embedded in every branding exercise right from the beginning in order to ward off situations that many big brands find themselves in rather frequently. We have recently seen how powerful brands such as Cadbury, ICICI, Bisleri and Coke had to work hard to protect their equity in the face of allegations and eroding public confidence.

Brands need protection, as business environment for the last couple of years has been witnessing epochal changes with consumer awareness on the rise, vociferous vigilant groups having field day and media playing pied piper. All this is further fueled by blogging on the brands with comments by disgruntled elements, be it a consumer complaint or a planted story by a competitor.This impacts positive opinion of the brand at every level.

The challenge before the corporate is to tackle such situations carefully and timely through dialogue and effective outreach program, before they can play havoc with the brand equity.You need to protect your brand reputation at any cost. Here are six steps which would help:

  1. Have the consumer complaint cell in place. But , the one that’s proactive and effective and be able to resolve complaints, preferably manned at the senior level.
  2. When the private complaints acquire the public currency, do not wait. Initiate and engage the grieving party in dialogue immediately.
  3. If you find it gathering momentum, gear up for a long battle involving media and other pillars of democracy.
  4. Do good and be seen as doing good.
  5. Communicate your internal initiatives and steps taken to redress grievances.
  6. Put in place a proactive mechanism to constantly monitor business environment including blogging etc to identify hints of communications that could have a negative impact on your brand equity and take on the same. Remember, this has to be an on-going exercise and not a one- off kind.

About the author:

Khadil JamalMr Khalid Jamal, CEO of Orion PR, and an award-winning PR professional with around two decades’ experience tells us how a good PR exercise can help companies in difficult times. Mr Khalid Jamal can be reached kj@orionpr.in or kj@oriel.in . You may visit his web site at www.orionpr.in

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