A brand’s reputation is its most important asset. When it’s damaged, the effects are far reaching- sales are lost as potential customers keep away, press coverage highlights a brand’s failings, and even future recruitment of human resources is impacted. In today’s marketplace, the online space is vital to buying, selling and talking about and interacting with brands. This means any crisis that happens offline will soon become an online reputation crisis, with social media allowing news, opinions, photos and evidence to be shared in real time.
Your brand’s online reputation has a huge impact on your business- crises often gain traction online before they have a chance to be reported on in printed press or on television. Even if this never happens, blogs, and tweets can do an incredible amount of damage. Damage done to your reputation can be expensive, difficult or even impossible to reverse. A word to the wise: it is far easier to be proactive about managing your brand’s reputation to avoid crises, and to have an effective plan of action should one occur.
A number of elements should form the foundation for your reputation management strategy. Be sure to actively engage local news services to help give you a voice and build brand recognition. This does not necessarily mean advertorials about your products and services either- the public loves to hear about your brand’s involvement in the community, for example. Transparency and efficiency are paramount online. Respond to customer feedback promptly and publicly- whether positive or negative. Address product and service issues raised, and proactively encourage users to post about their positive experiences. Customers often amplify their positive experiences with you as much as the negative ones.
Managing your online and offline reputation can be a time-consuming task, and planning is at the heart of ensuring any problems do not grow into reputational crises. This includes appropriate research and planning for every platform your brand goes on to, monitoring what is being said about you in the media, and keeping abreast of band mentions and sentiments online in order to detect and eliminate threats. This is where comprehensive reputation management services come into play, taking this load off your business to effectively manage your brand. No brand is helpless against the narrative formed by the greater public. Take control of the conversation to ensure your brand is portrayed in the most positive light.