Do you know how your brand is perceived by potential customers? Do they have a good or bad impression of your business? Being able to avoid potential problems that lead to a negative brand reputation is crucial for earning the trust—and business, of potential customers.
One issue that companies face is that when they run online advertising campaigns, ad fraud can hurt their brand’s reputation. This is where brand reputation management and using an ad fraud solution becomes important.
What is brand reputation management? How do ad fraud solutions help with reputation management?
What Is Brand Reputation Management?
Brand reputation management is a collection of all the practices, policies, and tools that an organization uses to monitor and control the general perception of its brand.
This can include activities like:
- Monitoring social media networks for mentions of the brand;
- Controlling the types of advertisements that are released (and where they appear);
- Responding to customer comments (both positive and negative); and
- Community outreach/charity activities.
Virtually any activity that can help a brand suppress or remediate negative mentions while generating positive buzz could be considered a part of reputation management.
Some organizations define it more narrowly, however. As noted by Meltwater, a social listening and media specialist company, “Online reputation management (or monitoring) is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility.”
Quick Tips for Online Brand Reputation Management
Some quick tips to help you effectively control how your brand is perceived by others online include:
- Promptly (and Courteously) Respond to Criticism. While many people may prefer to avoid engaging with those who leave negative reviews and comments online, such reviews can be a golden opportunity to manage your brand’s rep. Taking the time to respond to criticism, provide solutions where possible, and demonstrate that you care can be crucial for forming a positive online rep—and it can even help turn detractors into promoters. However, it’s important to realize that you can’t win them all.
- Monitor Social Media for Both Positive and Negative Mentions. Use a social media monitoring tool or browse for #hashtag or @mentions of your brand or company name on social media. This can be critical for knowing what people are saying about your brand.
- Provide Great Customer Service. Creating a positive customer experience can provide a major boost to your brand’s reputation. While not every satisfied customer will sing your praises, it can prevent negative mentions and protect your brand’s online rep.
- Check the National Do Not Call Registry. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) has a restriction on companies attempting to call anyone on the National Do Not Call Registry. Reaching out to consumers on the Do Not Call Registry (DNC) can annoy them—leading to negative press. It can also lead to TCPA compliance violations and fines of $500-$1,500 per call. So, keeping up to date with the DNC and not calling contacts on it without express written consent is important.
- Exercise Caution in Online Advertising Campaigns. Online advertising—especially through social media influencers and affiliate marketing programs—has become a must-have for marketers. However, advertising fraud, misaimed marketing efforts, and other issues can turn an attempt to promote the brand into something that damages it instead. So, exercising caution in online marketing efforts by carefully reviewing marketing messages for potentially offensive content, partnering with brand-suitable affiliates, and using an ad fraud solution to detect and prevent fraud can be extremely important.
How Ad Fraud Is Killing Brand Reputations (+ Examples)
So, what does ad fraud have to do with online brand reputation management? The major link is when companies use digital and affiliate marketing campaigns that encounter fraud, the false leads generated can have the contact information of real people. When you try to reach out to those leads, you could end up with TCPA compliance violations, consumer complaints, and even lawsuits.
Real Housewives Star Indicted for Fraud
Jen Shah, a former star on the reality TV show Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, was indicted for fraud in March of 2020. According to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Shah was charged with “conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connections with telemarketing” in a scheme where she allegedly “generated and sold leads to other Participants for use by their telemarketing sales floors with the knowledge that the individuals they had identified as ‘leads’ would be defrauded.”
While the other “Participants” were part of the scheme in this case, this is a prime example of lead generation fraud that can damage a company’s reputation and bottom line. Imagine the harm that could be done to an organization’s brand reputation if it used such a list of leads or was associated with a scam targeting the elderly.
Learn More about Lead Generation Fraud:Download the Lead Generation Fraud 101 eBook!
FTC Sues Over Lead Generation Bait-and-Switch
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued a company called Day Pacer, LLC over its lead generation activities. As noted in their article, Day Pacer, LLC allegedly:
“got its leads from websites with convincing graphics and language to make people think they were in the right place to get what they needed. People went to these websites and shared their phone numbers to get help applying for jobs, health insurance, unemployment benefits and other assistance… Instead, people got unwanted phone calls from Day Pacer with sales pitches to enroll in post-secondary and vocational schools opened by its clients… even though their numbers were on the National Do Not Call Registry”
Reaching out to leads who were not informed that their contact information would be used for marketing purposes can create a huge TCPA compliance risk. It can also lead to a lot of bad press—especially if the FTC starts making press releases and blogs about the event!
How to Recover from a Damaged Brand Reputation
So, how can you recover from a damaged brand reputation? Unfortunately, it isn’t easy. Once lost, trust can be extremely difficult to rebuild.
Here are a few tips for rebuilding a damaged brand reputation:
- Acknowledge the scandal or event that caused the damage and take steps to prevent similar events from happening again.
- Listen to complaints about your brand, understand them, and clarify misunderstandings that consumers may have to reduce complaints.
- Showcase to consumers how you plan to prevent future events similar to what caused the negative brand reputation.
- Be transparent about the issue, what caused it, and how it affected your customers.
- Be both patient and consistent about rebuilding your reputation—it takes time to repair relationships and get past a major negative event and consistent positive action will be needed to facilitate improvement.
- Leverage reputation management tools such as social media monitoring solutions, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, and more to keep track of mentions of your brand and to help build positive relationships with customers.
How Ad Fraud Solutions Can Help Prevent a Negative Reputation
Ad fraud solutions are not the same as brand protection software. However, they can play a role in helping your organization avoid reaching out to fraudulent leads.
For example, an ad fraud solution like Anura can integrate with your digital marketing platform to provide proactive monitoring of online and affiliate marketing campaigns. By capturing hundreds of data points about website visitors, Anura can easily parse the genuine leads from the fake ones in real time.
By finding these fraudulent leads early, you can avoid adding them to your marketing outreach efforts. This, in turn, helps you avoid TCPA violations, consumer complaints, and other issues that create negative press.
You can also use ad fraud data to identify the sources behind fraudulent leads—cutting them out of your ad campaigns so your organization isn’t associated with them when their fraud catches up to them.
Do you need help weeding out fraud from your online and affiliate marketing campaigns? Reach out to Anura today to get started!