As a business owner or employee, you are the best advocate for your brand. After all, you know the ins and outs of what you do and what makes your company so great. However, recent years have seen a shift in consumer behaviour and the rise of social media platforms, and people with time to kill while working from home. That means that businesses are much more exposed to conversations happening online for all to see, leading to a reputation (positive or negative) that can quickly impact how well your business performs.
In this short post, we’ll cover the basics of what reputation management involves and how your business could benefit from such services.
What is reputation management?
You wouldn’t be surprised to see political figures with teams of advisors, or movie stars accompanied by an agent with an opinion on everything. Well, companies are similar: they can benefit from having a team of experts providing support when needed.
But what is reputation management exactly? The term encompasses a range of services that help companies get a grasp of their reputation – primarily online & in traditional media. Consultants and experts provide advice to reinforce a positive reputation or deal with crises when they arise.
What does it involve?
Online reputation has many aspects and can include customer reviews, social media and other media coverage. An important part of reputation management is monitoring conversations around the brand to react and prevent crises quickly. Some of the tools and techniques used include:
- Real-time monitoring (traditional media, social media platforms, podcasts, etc.)
- Sentiment analysis
- Calculation of social media reach
A strong public relations program and legal advice are usually another important part of such services – this is particularly needed in cases of defamation or intellectual property, for example.
Who can provide these services?
Some companies focus on the strategic & consultancy aspect of reputation management, while others combine legal advice and strategic support to provide a complete approach to reputation management.
Depending on what the needs for your business are, you can decide which type of support you will need. Some companies specialise in specific industries while others cover all sectors, which will also play a part in your decision.
Why is reputation management important?
Most businesses don’t realise the importance of reputation management until it’s too late. Of course, these services can help in time of need to deal with a crisis, but ideally, this is only the last resort, the main goal being to prevent these from happening in the first place.
One of the main benefits is increased customer trust. Customers need to trust your business before they decide to purchase your products or services, online reviews and word-of-mouth play an important role in building customer trust, which is an area where reputation management can help immensely. More generally, having a proper strategy can help maintain your brand image and have consistent communication guidelines and processes.
A consequence of the monitoring required for reputation management is that the business can better understand what customers like and don’t like about your products/services. This feedback can be used to improve upon existing offering, which in turn can result in increased sales for the company.
The first reason businesses turn to reputation management consultants tends to be when they notice something negative or untrue being said about their business but have no idea how to address it. This can happen at a smaller scale or a national (even international) level. All organisations can benefit from expert support to handle brand negativity, dispel malicious rumours or correct misleading information, regardless of the business size or ‘severity’ of the issue. In more serious cases, it is particularly helpful to benefit from legal advice as some cases can be taken to court (i.e. defamation).
Reputation management is a vast field. It contains many aspects due to the variety of channels available for a brand to communicate with its potential customers. It can highly benefit all types and sizes of businesses. You’ll get a better understanding of how your audience views your brand. You’ll be able to quickly react to interactions with your brand (positive and negative ones).
We hope you’ve found this quick overview of reputation management useful. If you’d like to read more articles like this one, head over to the business section of our website.