ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Your brand reputation is one of the most valuable assets you own. It takes years to build a solid reputation, but in today’s fast paced, wired world it can be damaged by just one negative post or video. Reputation management has always been a core PR function. Now that the ease of publishing comments and reviews online has made the protection of the brand image one of the top risk factors for a company, it should be top of the list of the PR concerns for any organization.
Consider these statistics:
- 93% of online activities begin with a search engine
- 90% read online reviews prior to doing business with a firm
- 88% trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend
- One negative review can cost you 30 customers
Kryptonite Bike Locks.
Back in 2008 a biker discovered that he could pick a Kryptonite bike lock with a Bic pen. He posted this with a video of how to do it in a biker forum online. It quickly went viral. They had to recall their stock and fix the problem. That cost them millions. However, they have never addressed the problem of this content ranking on page one in Google when you search for their brand name. All these years later that video is still on page one in a Google search for Kryptonite bike locks.
A couple of years ago Progressive Insurance had a reputation issue after they refused to pay a claim for a young women who was killed in a car accident. Her brother is a stand-up comedian in New York City. He had some very influential people following him on social media. When he wrote about the court case and Progressive’s actions it caused a storm of negative content online that was picked up by the mainstream media. It was first reported by The Huffington Post, currently #3 on the top 10 news sites:
“The backlash against Progressive was strong enough that the Ohio-based company felt compelled to issue a public statement on the case. The statement denied Progressive was representing the driver who was ultimately found negligent. And it prompted even further backlash because it failed to acknowledge that, as a practical matter, Progressive’s lawyer was indeed working in court as a third party to combat the Fisher family’s claims.”
The story also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NBC, CBS and the list goes on.
Even if you have not had any negative content posted about your brand, it can happen at any time. 85 % of in-house lawyers in the US and UK say that social media has greatly increased the potential for a minor problem to turn into a major crisis.
If you are prepared and you have enough positive content and support from your online community, it will be much easier to weather the storm.
- Monitor brand mentions constantly
- Have a crisis strategy in place
- Know how to evaluate the possible consequences of any content
- Have a strategy for content on all social channels you use
- Build a network of loyal influencers who support your brand
- Install a social media newsroom
- Post positive content regularly
FIXING A REPUTATION MANAGEMENT PROBLEM
Once the problem exists it takes a full-court press to clean the pages of negative content. This requires
- A team of talented content creators
- SEO specialists who have a deep understanding of Google’s algorithms
- The team stays current with all Google search and news search changes
- Strong social support.
If the problem is severe – say 5 or 6 negative listings on page one and two – it could take 6 months or more to clean the page. Because reputation management work is so labor intensive, it is can be costly. But the cost of not fixing it is far more.