tm logo



Reputational Management For Startups

Brand Reputation Management: Why Startups Need It

Lesetja Malope

Lesetja Malope

21 August 20235 min read

share this blog

reputational management for startups

Today's competitive business landscape and digital environment make a tough playing ground for startups. This is especially true when trying to build a brand from scratch. And a brand that consumers trust and identify with can only be made on a solid reputation. But how can you do that?

Read on to learn all about brand reputation management and why startups need it.

What is brand reputation management?

In a nutshell, reputation management means shaping the public perception of your brand.

How do consumers see your brand? What do they say about it in online and offline spaces? Where are these conversations happening? And most importantly, how can you participate in these? How can you steer these to be positive for your brand identity and to drive sales?

These are some key questions that reputation management is based on when it comes to small companies.

Moreover, digital media has turned the whole world into one big market. So to build a solid online reputation, businesses have to be on their best behavior, consistently. As people become more interconnected, a few customers could influence your reputation globally. A positive online reputation could help you create a loyal customer base too.

This is why reputation management is more crucial than ever now.

How does reputation management work?

Reputation management aims to ensure that consumers associate your brand with good, positive qualities.

A study by Nielsen found that 77% of global respondents rely on word-of-mouth advice for new product information. This is closely followed by internet search (67%) and television advertising (59%).

Clearly, reputation plays a significant role in influencing consumer behavior. And this reputation has to be built and maintained on all fronts across communication channels.

That's why reputation management is a mix of multimedia and communication strategies. This includes optimization of search engines, advertising, social media, PR outreach, and digital marketing.

Why is reputation management important to US small businesses?

For a startup business, its image is one of its most valuable assets. This directly affects sales and revenue and also potential investments. Investors need to know that the brand has the potential to grow and attract new customers.

In fact, according to Weber Shandwick, companies with better reputations attract investors and increase sales. They also tend to have:

  1. higher market value
  2. stronger stock performance
  3. lower costs of capital

This means a startup's reputation, primarily online, can significantly affect its financial health.

And it's not enough to concentrate on the positive. You need balanced online reputation management strategies and constant review management to protect your image.

And don't forget the consequences of negative feedback. A damaged brand reputation can really hurt a startup. A survey by Deloitte found that 41% of executives and startup founders think reputational risk is the most significant strategic risk to their company's growth.

How can startups build a good reputation?

Small businesses usually don't have deep pockets like big conglomerates. So they can't spend much money on traditional advertising to push their products and services. US small businesses typically rely on a few key pillars to build their brand, especially in the early days.

  1. Positive reviews on social media: your social media strategy should highlight your brand's qualities and values online. Social media platforms allow you to create more personal, direct relationships with your target audience. You can use it to boost positive reviews and address any customer concerns or negative reviews.
  2. Online reviews: What customers say about your brand and products on online platforms, e-commerce sites, and aggregators can make a huge difference. A Deloitte study found that 87% of consumers review sites for local businesses, and 97% use online reviews to make purchase decisions. So ensuring you have a positive brand image will help you build a solid online reputation.
  3. Word-of-mouth recommendations: This has remained one of the most tried and tested methods of building a brand's reputation. People always trust reviews and recommendations from personal acquaintances. So good customer feedback can lead to recommendations to your target audience. In turn, this will give you a boost in sales and your reputation.
  4. Consumer trust in your quality standards: If you want your customers to recommend your business, you must be consistent. Your quality standards are unwavering and high at all times.

These are all critical for attracting new customers and building brand loyalty.

What's trademark protection got to do with reputation management?

Few startups realize that a trademark can be their secret weapon for reputation management.

Trademark registration of your brand’s name, logo, or slogan as a federal trademark with the USPTO can give these assets legal protection. If anyone else tries to use them for other businesses, you can seek legal redress and protect your intellectual property.

And a trademark serves as a visual representation of a brand's identity and values. A positive reputation associated with a trademark can impact customer perception. It can also affect purchasing decisions.

Trademarks are valuable business assets. They can protect you from the threat of counterfeit goods that could confuse existing or potential customers. They can also help you maintain a positive online presence by reducing the risk of copycat competitors.

Build a strong reputation for your brand

Today there are hundreds of choices available to consumers in every category. That's why it's essential for brands to stand out. Then they also need to maintain that relationship with their customers.

And a robust reputation is a strong foundation for building a brand.

A brand's positive image is proof of an excellent long-term strategy. Ensuring high standards of service and quality can help you in physical markets.

Creating a trustworthy reputation online and earning positive feedback can significantly impact your brand's online reputation. In today's digital age, that's a substantial competitive edge.

When it comes to reputational management for startups, combining these things can do wonders for your business reputation in the long run.


What is the best practice for reputation management?

There are several online reputation management strategies. However, one of the most important is establishing a system for review management. Generally, this means with a Google Business profile. 

What are the key elements of reputation management?

There are various elements of reputation management. But the key ones are strategic content marketing, social listening, and customer testimonials. All of these can help establish a solid online reputation.

How do I start reputation management?

You're already on the right track if you're reading this article. The next step is to take measures to address any negative reviews. In addition, take constructive customer feedback seriously. And encourage a system of coming up with positive reviews; ultimately, this will lead to a positive brand image.

share this blog