Reputation management – What is it?
If you don’t read and respond to this post I will sully your brand by writing vicious articles about your company and I will make sure these articles appear top fo search engines.
Yes, this is the sort of world we live in now where criminals and less than scrupulous companies will seek to dominate what is being said about your brand.
THE MORE PROSAIC TRUTH
In reality the above is pretty uncommon though it will happen. What concerns most of us is how do we know what is being said about our company online and by whom.
We all know that word or mouth opinions are the most powerful in terms of influencing customer behaviour. Most of the time word of mouth extends to just 2-3 people, but what if this opinion finds its way to the top of Google each time someone does a search on your brand or company name. This can be disastrous.
Consider these listings for Dabs.com and laptops direct. These companies could be suffering hugely because of these postings. They may have been made by lone protesters but whoever they are their views are appearing on the first page of Google and that’s going to hurt.
Online reputation management is a relatively new “industry” as companies have caught on and comprehended the power of bloggers and opinion formers.
The service usually involves applying software to “monitor” comment and stories being written within the blogoshphere. The comments are then graded as to their content (positive, negative, neutral) and the writers influence (obviously a comment from the on the BBC site is obviously much more important than one from a lone blogger in Antartica.)
If a client’s reputation is seen to be suffering then a “reputation repair” service is instigated. The purpose of this is to drive any negative comments from Google’s index, and to post more positive comments within the blogs where the damage is being done.
As always, with any PR it is important that companies do not lie about their product or service. If people are posting genuine grievances “The steak was like leather”, “the cashier was rude” etc then a this should be addressed politely and any improvements that have been made should be highlighted. Accentuating the positive rather than prolonging the negative is key here.
Datadial have launched their own Reputation management service this year and have already enabled blue chip clients to stifle negative press appearing Google and other search engines. The service breaks down into personal reputation management, brand reputation management and corporate reputation management.