Brand management is critical to the success of your business in an age in which perception can be everything.

Develop a reputation for bad service and find out quickly how hard it will be to get business, even if you have changed your practices and offer real value to customers. Allow customers to perceive your brand as the cheap option when you’re in a higher-end market, and you’ll have a hard time getting the sales you want.

You need to work on building your brand right from the start and continue to monitor your strategy so that you create the perception you want to get the customers you want. Here are a few tips for how to build your brand:

Encourage Positive Reviews

Some of the first places people look to learn about your brand are review sites.

If you have a string of bad reviews, your reputation will be destroyed. Even if you have a few bad reviews, they can stand out and be what readers remember most.

The best thing you can do to prevent bad reviews is to offer an excellent product and superior customer service. But even then, you can’t prevent bad reviews.

You can drown out any negative feedback you might get with an overwhelming number of positive reviews. Some people may feel motivated to leave a positive review after a great experience with your brand, but most will need a little nudging.

Ask your customers for their positive review after you’ve had a successful sale or interaction. Incentivize them to leave a review by offering a discount code or some other promotion. Just make sure that the incentive isn’t tied to the content of the review, or else you will tarnish your reputation with the perception that your good feedback has been “bought.”

Actively Engage with Customers

Make your brand more than a faceless business by actively engaging with customers across all your channels.

Respond to most if not all of the comments you receive on your social media networks. The larger your following, the less realistic this may be. You’ll quickly learn which comments can go unanswered, such as statements like “yeah” or “way to go!” However, a simple “like” may be enough to engage.

It is essential that you quickly respond to any negative comments on your social media networks or your blogs. An unanswered complaint can be seen as a sign of guilt or as apathy to your customers’ experiences. But a poor response can be disastrous as it shows that you are not able to provide good service.

Always apologize and offer to do what’s needed to make it right. Show humility and concern, and you will show your other customers that their experience is of the utmost importance to you.

Put the Right Advertising in the Right Places

Building your brand is about reaching the right audience with the right message. Putting the right advertising in the right places can help you achieve that.

With the right ads, you control the messaging around your brand and shape perception with your target audience.

Get Good Press

What you say about yourself only has so much impact. What others say about you can have a bigger impact.

Positive press can help you build your reputation, whether it happens offline or on. Of course, traditional news outlets like newspapers and magazines are a great option, but you should also consider links from other websites and blogs to be “press” as well. Whether you get an article or a review of your brand or you just get an authority link, it’s an endorsement of your brand and helps you to create a positive image.

Be Consistent

Perhaps more important than anything else you do, you must be consistent. Over time, that consistency is what will create your brand image.

You can achieve consistency in the big details like the type of content you create and the tone you use. However, you can also achieve consistency in the smaller details such as the fonts used in your ads, the type of action words in your headlines, the colors in your logo and layout, and more.

Consistency will enforce the image for your brand and make it more easily recognizable for your audience, no matter where they encounter it. Consistency will also make it clear to your audience exactly what you stand for, whether that means quality products, authority information, or superior service.

Building your brand will help you get more customers and to secure their loyalty. No matter what you do, people will be talking about your company. Make sure you have control of the conversation.