On one hand, a strong brand can drive sales and engagement better than a team of veteran marketers. And since 59% of customers prefer to try new products from companies they trust, your brand is like an organic powerhouse that basically self-propagates…assuming you take care of it.
On the other hand, you’re never in complete control of your brand reputation. That same organic nature that you love also takes away your power. It’s hard to build a good reputation, and even harder to change a bad one.
But, if used correctly, your brand reputation can help you build better products. It can give you a read on what customers want, help you bring in early data on use cases, and even find the best channels to build awareness about certain products or features.
In fact, there are four key ways that you can use your brand reputation to successfully develop and launch new products. And since knowledge is power, these steps are also things you can (and should) implement as part of your regular communication cycles.
Four Ways To Use Brand Reputation In A Product Launch
Your brand reputation isn’t just what people think of your company. I mean, sure, that’s a big part of it. But the saying goes that you only get to make one first impression. That’s become especially true after the rise of social media, and it sure affects how and where you leverage your reputation when building and launching new products, services, or features.
Brand reputation also impacts how people perceive what you offer, which means it will affect whether or not people pay any attention to a new product. And if you’re investing time and budget into launching a new product, you can’t afford any unnecessary risks.
That’s why you’ll want (and maybe even need) to get the most out of your brand reputation at this important moment for your business.
1. Take Stock Of The Conversation
Social listening tools give you an unprecedented understanding of what people are saying about your company. Yes, your brand conversation shapes that dialogue in a big way. But the only way to hear what they’re saying is to pay attention.
Whether you pay for social listening tools or hire some community managers, this is a key part of managing your reputation. And since social media is the platform that is most closely connected with reputation, it’s the one where you’ll get the most out of this investment, particularly at an early stage in developing products.
Because that’s part of the entire process. You can’t just try to cram brand marketing into the final stage of a product launch — you’ll want to use it as early as possible. Hearing the conversation about your company will tell you what people want or expect from you.
And those conversations happen between the customers who are most passionate about your brand, which adds extra weight to what they’re saying.
2. Engage With The Naysayers
We’re usually tempted to tune out negativity, whether that is removing negative comments or minimizing their influence. But as Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
The worst things you can do is try to ignore disgruntled customers. After all, people with complaints tend to be valuable sources of intel. Think of it like James Bond scoping out the villain’s lair after being invited over for tea and biscuits.
When unhappy customers share their feedback with you, they are giving you an opportunity to engage with them directly. Even if it’s a private message or a comment on a general post, any negative voice is an opportunity for you to go back and rewrite your brand impression.
After all, one positive experience could change their mind.
These interactions will boost your brand reputation and also help you better understand the pain points that people experience, helping you pivot away from similar issues when you’re trying to launch a new product.
3. Collect Lots (And Lots) Of Data
This one is a no-brainer for most marketers and product owners. But when it comes to brand reputation, you don’t need to be as interested in the nitty-gritty type of data that SEO analysts love. What you’re looking for is old-fashioned data: customer feedback.
Developing a new product requires a lot of moving parts, both inside and outside of your company. But it’s easy to overlook what customers or even potential customers have to say.
I’m not saying you need to recruit thousands of people to beta test every feature. But looping in your customers during product development gives them a sense of ownership. It encourages organic conversations throughout your audience, and allows for people to have positive experiences with your brand and then recommend it to their friends, family, etc.
77% of customers have a positive reaction to brands that collect and use their feedback. And since 94% of people stay loyal to companies that are transparent, you should want to let people see behind the curtain and feel like they are part of your company’s future.
As an added bonus, collaborating with customers also provides use cases and testimonials about why your new product is better than other options out there. That lets you turn your user engagement into product marketing.
4. Build A Marketing Plan Around The Brand
Even once you understand why customers love your brand, it’s still tempting to focus marketing efforts on the products. But modern customers care less about why Product A does Feature B better than a competitor — they’re more interested in connecting with a brand they can trust and support for years to come.
This has led to a market shift toward brand marketing. For some companies, that means giving the brand a more human-oriented, personal feel by putting people at the center of an ad strategy. Other brands lean into what makes them unique, whether that’s a company mission or a tie to their community.
What matters here is finding what makes your brand special, which you can achieve by trying out the three other tactics on this list. And once you know what works for your company (and, more importantly, why it works), you’ll know which part of your brand to market as you push your new product into the wild.
About the Author
Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a music and stock video licensing company that provides resources — like shot list templates and YouTube background music — to help businesses make better marketing content.