Your brand is only as good as your reputation.
Let that sink in for a bit.
No matter how great your product is, its value is weighed on the scale of your reputation.
Seeing the importance of this, have you ever wondered how people perceive your reputation? I will tell you.
If reputation is a recipe, it has 2 major ingredients – information and perception. In a bit you will learn how these two ingredients form your reputation.
How Reputation Is Created In the Minds of Your Customers
The reputation of every brand on the planet begins with information.
This information could be accurate or otherwise. The source of the information could be customers, the brand itself, or third parties. It could be published on blogs, scientific journals, or social media and could be based on scientific facts or just personal opinion.
Information is one thing; the perception of the people consuming the information is another. Perception is how people choose to interpret the information they receive. And the perception of your customers is coloured by one major factor – social proof.
Social Proof Strengthens/Weakens Perception
Humans are gregarious creatures. We love to hang out with each other. It’s been that way for thousands of years and it’s still the same today – with a few minor variations.
And so, we tend to trust the words (actions) of the majority. If the majority says a thing is good, we go for it and vice versa.
Accordingly, if a large number of people have similar opinion about your brand, others are most likely going to believe their opinion.
Sadly, most people are too lazy or busy to get information for themselves and therefore rely on other people’s opinion.
Furthermore, there are other factors that influence the way people process information. Here are 3 major ways people perceive information that form your reputation:
People come on the internet majorly to consume information. And they seek information that is relevant to what they are interested in.
Here’s an example:
An investor goes online to look for information on investment opportunities. He will only look at information related to investment and money. This means that he will be visiting sites like Financial Times, Bloomberg, and Investopedia.
You won’t find him reading about an app that makes his voice sound like a cat’s. It’s not related to his interest.
In the course of this, if he finds opinions of other people about a particular investment company or opportunity, it will influence his investment decision and colour his opinion.
If their opinion about that investment is good he will most likely be interested in it. And if their opinions are bad he will definitely stay away.
Selective Consumption Of Information
People most times only seek out information they agree with. We are all selective listeners/readers whether we admit it or not. We select what information to accept or reject based on cognitive biases.
These biases are major factor in the formation of a reputation.
Customers seek out information that support or strengthen their personal, financial, or religious beliefs. When somebody’s opinion supports any of their beliefs they will believe it, even if it’s inaccurate.
Additionally, the political or religious belief of a person can influence how people receive the information they provide.
For instance, if a republican says something true about a company, democrats will most likely not believe it. As a consequence, they will form an opposing view about that brand.
Worse still, search engines encourage this behaviour.
Whenever a person makes a search online, the algorithm stores this information. And the more searches the said person makes, the more data is stored about their preferences.
Consequently, anytime the person uses the platform, the search engines provides searcher with information relevant to their search history. As a result, internet users only see what the search engines think they want to see, whether it is accurate or not.
The Clan Effect
What I call the clan effect is when people do what others are doing. Or believe what others believe. Or form an opinion based on other people’s opinions.
This behaviour is extremely powerful and is what makes online reviews potent.
You may not have the time to go online and research a brand yourself. And so, you just ask a friend what they think about the brand. Or read a few reviews and make your decisions based on what they say.
If your friend tells you that the brand is terrible, you don’t question his opinion. You just head over to the competition.
So there you have it. The 3 major ways customers perceive your reputation. There are a lot of complex mental processes going on under these three. These processes result in a personal opinion which the person will believe and act on, whether it is true or not.
Want to know what your customers think about you?
You can start by collecting valuable customer data using a Wi-Fi analytics and marketing platform like Spoton Wi-Fi. With the data you collect, you can reach out to your customers and ask them to tell you what they think about your brand.
What you hear may surprise you.
There are many more exciting things you can do with customer data such as boosting your marketing ROI, generating positive reviews, etc.
Contact us now and we will tell you how.POSTED ON January 7, 2020