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Your brand is an important part of your company’s identity and reputation. When this comes under attack, it can have a serious negative impact on the way you are publicly perceived, possibly causing you to lose customers. Here are just several ways in which you brand can come under attack and how you can defend against these attacks.
People are badmouthing you online
Negative reviews and criticism on social media can have a serious impact on your reputation. Many online review sites allow you to respond directly to reviews, whilst you can easily respond to criticism on social media – it’s important that you respond, but you should do so in a professional manner. Unless you feel the criticism is genuinely a mistake, try to always be apologetic.
On social media, it may be better to directly message the person that made the comment. Of course, you can also diffuse negative criticism by also encouraging positive public feedback from happy customers – if there are more positive reviews than negative reviews, people will focus more on the positive ones.
The media are giving you negative press
When a newspaper or even a TV channel starts negatively criticizing you, it can be a lot harder to recover from. Making a public apology and taking steps to fix the problem that you are being criticized for is usually the best step forward, unless you feel the press you’ve received was unfair. Hiring a PR agency could be worthwhile for helping to boost your reputation.
Another company is using your branding without permission
If another company has stolen your brand name, logo or other elements of your brand, this could also have negative consequences. People could mistake their company for yours and vice versa – and this confusion could affect your reputation. Protecting your brand using patents or trademarks could be essential for preventing this – this beginners guide to brand protection offers more information on this process. It could also be worth hiring a solicitor to help defend your cause.
Competitors are attacking you in their advertising
Brand wars are a common marketing tactic used by bigger companies (Burger King vs McDonald’s and Pepsi vs Coca Cola are two big examples of this). When it comes to smaller businesses, this tactic is less common but it can still happen. Providing the attack is done in jest, you may be able to respond by snapping back at them in return – just make sure to keep it light-hearted. If it’s a more serious attack at your company ethics, you may want to tread more carefully as a response could draw attention to certain flaws in your company (hiring a PR agency to decide the best step forward could be worthwhile).