Brand Reputation

Why A Brand Reputation Score Is The Ultimate Tool For Brand Managers

We are living in noisy times, and it's not good news for brands. How can a clear reputation score help brands stand out and send a clear signal to their target audience?
Repsense Team
6 minutes

Could you remember one post that you have seen on social media today? Or a brilliant article in your favorite news portal that truly caught your attention?

We are living in noisy times. And it's not good news for brands. They need to allocate higher budgets for their advertisement, put more effort into pitching the media, and cover more channels with their reputation management campaigns. 

Some brands will try to stand out with more extreme content – think of the recent flop from Balenciaga – but this is a short-sighted strategy. A lasting reputation requires a solid online presence.

Why does having a reputation score provide valuable insights for brand managers?

Outsourcing the memory

You are not alone if you ever had to google a fact to win an argument. Most of us have outsourced our memory to the search box. 

When the entire human knowledge is at your fingertips, why would you bother to remember exact facts? 

And we should not be too quick to blame technology here. This mechanism – relying on others to store and retrieve vital information – could have been around for thousands of years.

How come?

Distribution of knowledge

American social psychologist Daniel M. Wegner was the first to describe the concept of transactive memory. It defines a group-level knowledge-sharing system, where each group member is responsible for remembering, storing, and sharing certain information. 

Simply put, if you spend enough time with another person or group, you might start outsourcing your memory to them. 

That might be why you never remember where you put your keys, but your spouse always does. 

Wegner suggested that transactive memory systems have three core processes that connect individual memories. We update the directory of knowledge ("who knows what"), allocate the information, and coordinate the retrieval of it.

Our brains developed to be specialized. Instead of having to remember how to do all the things, we know some things better than others. We learn some information, and other group members remember the rest.

Granted, this is research from 1995, but the general principle applies today, especially with multiple search engines in our hands.

Instead of asking a neighbor for their delicious pie recipe, we will search for a how-to video on YouTube. We'll google a book instead of talking to the librarian. And if we wish to learn the latest celebrity gossip, we'll go to Twitter or TikTok instead of chatting with a colleague. 

We don't need to remember everything. It's enough to memorize that Google, Twitter, YouTube, or TikTok will store, arrange, and retrieve information for us. 

Where does that leave brands?

Brand reputation lives in the search box

Communication and reputation experts might think that people care about their brand. Generally, they don't.

People might care about the problem they have or the solution they need. Still, if you are not a household name, it's probably not worth assuming that anyone remembers anything about your company.

That's why it's essential to meet the people where they are. They might get in touch with your brand by googling for an answer to a problem, while scrolling YouTube, or through an ad on Instagram. They might be looking over product reviews on Yelp or while reading the news. 

That is the first touchpoint, a micro-moment that builds up brand awareness.

Once you create enough of these tiny moments that establish your brand in people's memory, you get associated with a solution they need. People will probably start to do their own research about the brand.

And what they on the first pages of the search engine see matters. 

Each time prospective customers, partners, or journalists check your brand out, the narrative gets created, and the reputation gets formed. Putting it into a numerical value makes the job of a brand manager easier. It allows them to regularly check the reputation score and make necessary fixes while staying ahead of any problems.

What are the main criteria that should shape the reputation score?

Criteria that help to analyze the digital footprint

Just a couple of decades back, you would get your news from a newspaper or a TV. That’s it.

Right now, many more sources are available. Readers might start to trust things they see on social media more than information reported on national news.

But still, several important signals will help to shape a good reputation score: 

  • The position on the SERP. Having your company mentioned on the first page of Google while searching for your brand is a must.
  • The media rank and the strength of the source. National news will bring more credibility than a local blog.
  • The sentiment. Positive or negative reviews or ratings can shift the perception of the brand.
  • Distribution and diversity of sources. Your brand should be mentioned across different channels.
  • Hero content. Content quality matters across multiple channels.
  • Localization. Content availability is crucial if you work in multiple markets.

Repsense brand reputation score

Repsense created our online reputation score to help evaluate and track your online reputation based on what your stakeholders can find about your brand online. A high reputation score will ensure the brand's vitality, while a low score will indicate a need for taking serious steps for improving brand’s the digital footprint.

Our reputation score replicates the behavior of an individual who decides to research your company. It is based on hundreds of thousands of data points extracted from online sources, including Google search, news sources, blogs, Wikipedia, online reviews, and other online databases. 

It evaluates the reputation signals and helps you improve them among customers, employees, and other stakeholders. 

Repsense reputation score is calculated by taking into account multiple perspectives. The dashboard provides several ways to evaluate information:

  • Customer view. What will a potential customer see while researching a brand?
  • Employee view. How would a potential employee see the company? 
  • Public/regulator view. How would the general public, journalist, or regulator understand the company's reputation?
  • Investor view. Which topics would interest an investor and financial research?
  • Leadership view. How will the company's founders, CEO, managing team, or other experts be seen online?
  • News view. How is the brand performing in the news, compared to the competition? 

These different perspectives are necessary for the brand manager to analyze and track. Also, it allows them to ensure that the company's online reputation is positive from every stakeholder's perspective.

Bernays algorithm for reputation management

We call our algorithm Bernays after Edward Bernays, the American father of public relations. Intelligent, deep, and entrepreneurial as he was, Bernays changed how communication professionals understand reputation. 

Bernays came into history as a founding father of public relations and reputation industries. In 1921, he created the first ethical PR agency (which inspired peers like Hill, Burson, and Edelman), and his books changed how communications teams do business forever.

Today, as in 1921, media shifts, perceptions change, and the information we receive is fragmented. The old media model is dying, and it gets easier to get influenced by others.

Repsense AI module Bernays has already learned to evaluate how the reputation of today works and what we can do to make our world more balanced, inclusive, and calm again. 

How to improve your online reputation score?

A poor reputation score is not the end of the brand. While negative information is never pleasant to deal with, online brand image can be nourished back to health, even if the score is low. 

Brand managers need to take into account what people are saying online, proactively respond to reviews and ratings, and take care of social media profiles. These are some of the first steps toward a better digital footprint. 

The higher your reputation score, the better your brand is perceived online. 

Would you like to learn more about improving your next online reputation management campaign?

Let’s see how we can help you build up your reputation

We would love to show you first-hand how Repsense works. Get in touch and we’ll figure out a way we can help your business flourish together.