Branding and Reputation Management in the Digital Age For Tech Entrepreneurs

Branding and Reputation Management in the Digital Age For Tech Entrepreneurs

Branding and Reputation Management in the Digital Age For Tech Entrepreneurs

Admin | 01 June 2024

Little over five years ago, a prominent US brand had to come into a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after news broke out that its management had asked its workforce to add fake online reviews on its products. The settlement did irreparable damage to the brand’s online reputation and branding efforts and presented a go-to case study on what not to do in branding and reputation management.

For technology entrepreneurs, this presents an opportunity to understand branding and reputation management in the digital age. In today’s AI-driven world, the impact of online media on brand identity is irrefutable. A proactive stance to productively manage social media can lead to a favourable and renewed perception while reeling in customers. However, similar to how a proactive social media stance offers numerous benefits to a business, haphazard online media management can also lead to misinformation and crisis scenarios. In today’s digital world, it is only a matter of time for customers to find out about corporate misdeeds and whether it's proven or alleged matters little.

The statistics

Statistics related to this theory agree with the notion. According to an Ipsos MORI study, an astounding 97% of individuals believe that online reputation management remains a critical factor behind the success of a business. The research also revealed that 98% of respondents believe online reviews play a critical role in any business. For technology-oriented businesses that offer SaaS, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics, Cloud Services, Digital Marketing, and FinTech — both aspects have become increasingly crucial in the modern age.

According to Google, brands are vulnerable to losing as much as 22% of their total business if a single negative news article ranks on the first page of a search result. The tech giant also revealed in 2014 that 3 negative articles in search results can lead to brands losing 59.2% of their total portfolio.

These statistics offer a minimalistic way for us to understand how the Internet has become a critical part of branding and online reputation management efforts. It’s not just the omnipresent nature of technology, but also the constantly changing consumer behaviour. This is backed by the fact that studies have found that an astounding 84% of millennials do not like or trust conventional advertising methods. This directly translates to the fact that the younger generation trusts recommendations more than earlier generations and consumes them primarily from the internet or their social circles. Entrepreneurs, especially in the technology domain, must understand the ambiguity of constantly changing consumer preferences and act accordingly.

Constructing a robust brand identity

The digital world is full of narratives and counter-narratives, which makes it challenging for consumers to rely on any particular brand. For technology service providers, high competition also directly translates to confusion between the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of similar services by different brands. For example, individuals or businesses seeking ERP systems are faced with the dilemma of choosing between numerous similar solutions, which often reduce the business potential of these companies. This can be addressed by constructing a robust brand identity and aligning the brand subtly with its products. Xerox, the American corporation, can be a great example of this, which is often synonymous with photocopies of documents.

Constructing a robust brand identity that aligns with user perception can lead to distinguishing tech entrepreneurs from the rest of their peers. To do it, brands need to formulate a unique slogan that connects meaningfully with its target consumers, along with a business name, logo and colours. A narrative must also be formulated surrounding the brand, based on which consistent storytelling across channels can lead to a holistic brand identity and promote digital recognition.

While formulating the action plan, brands must consider their values, mission, vision and USP as part of the effort. To develop a productive branding campaign, the target audience and their preferences must be kept at the centre of the plan, not vice versa. A few years ago, Apple formulated one of its most prominent slogans of all time - “Think Different”. The slogan focused on celebrating innovators and critical thinkers, from famous scientist Albert Einstein to music legend John Lennon. The slogan aligned perfectly with Apple’s product line consisting of innovative telecom products and its global customer base felt a close connection with the brand.

Furthermore, channels to disseminate the messaging should also be contemplated. Gone are the days when only website articles and television took the lion’s share of driving narratives. Social media, email marketing and influencer marketing have taken centre stage to drive strategic messaging to engage and influence customers, shedding light on the importance of choosing proper channels to drive brand narratives and generate trust.

Considerations and Future Trends

Arguably the most important part of formulating a brand management strategy is crisis management. In today’s AI-driven world, narratives are born and used simultaneously by numerous different sources. Interactions in the digital domain happen quickly, and brands often become unable to track them simultaneously to avoid a crisis. This highlights the importance of setting up a robust crisis communication plan to counter unforeseen circumstances.

For example, the 2019 global AWS outage incident led to the data loss of millions of customers. However, Amazon promptly deployed its crisis communication protocol that dictated appropriate official communication on its social media channels, conventional media and elsewhere that streamlined the outcome. This offers a case study to today’s tech entrepreneurs on how to deal with unforeseen crises with a robust strategy.

Gen Z and Gen Alpha individuals are becoming target audiences for many tech brands. This is why reliability, authenticity, and responsibility are becoming critical to tech entrepreneurs going ahead. Branded content, short-form audio-visual content, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will soon capture and dominate the key trends in the future. This will also lead branding and reputation management strategies to adapt to the transformed customer behaviour in an ultra-digital world.

Share Now

Contact Us