Reputation is the single most valuable asset to an organisation. Good or bad, a company’s reputation says something about who they are, what they believe in and how they operate – regardless of whether these perceived ideas are factual.
Reputation is defined as a social construct based on the collective opinions held by other people in relation to another person or object. Reputation management is the monitoring, influencing and controlling of an individual, group or organisation’s reputation.
Today, information about a business is readily available to any member of the public via a quick Google search and a look over the organisation’s social media pages. This is both a blessing and a curse. Positive user experiences and testimonials about a company are simple to find. So too are negative experiences and organisational errors can spread to all corners of the globe in minutes. Due to this, reputation management has become all the more important to companies, with many realising that an effective reputation management strategy is key.
Perception is everything and developing and investing in multiple reputation management strategy tactics is the best way to ensure a company’s public image is what they want it to be. The following are initiatives that can be taken to achieve this goal:
Monitor your reputation: knowing what the current reputation is and how it got to that point is the very first thing for developing a successful reputation management strategy. From here, Google/Bing alerts can be set up for a brand name and other keywords. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are hot beds for opinions. Keeping a close eye on your pages not only gives you information but also allows immediate interaction if necessary.
Develop a response plan: there will be times when something goes wrong – a consumer becomes disgruntled, a message is misinterpreted and suddenly an organisation’s reputation is at risk. Having a plan in place of who is to respond, what is deemed an appropriate response and what action needs to be taken to move forward saves time and face.
Encourage positive responses: be proactive in providing spaces for consumers to review and share their thoughts. This can be the company’s own website, Google, yelp or social media sites. While this does give negative responses a platform as well, it minimises their impact because they are (hopefully) being drowned out by positive testimonials.
Media coverage: whether it’s through more traditional outlets or through social media, getting a steady stream of positive media coverage is a great way to boost reputation. It can outweigh any negative press, increase SEO and help establish an organisation as experts in a space.
Search Engine Optimised Content: Building your online presence and utilising SEO strategies that help land your content at the top of searches is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. If you’re not present on the first page of search results, you will be left behind by competitors.
For corporate reputation management strategy specifically, all of the above tactics can be utilised, but extra emphasis needs to be placed on the employee brand relationship as well as the feedback customers give. Corporations can sometimes appear out of touch. Being known for a positive workplace environment that treats their employees well is a great way to appeal to the public. Moreover, replying to consumers’ issues in a timely manner and engaging with customers in a genuine way will further help a company’s reputation.