PR ON THE GO May 27, 2022

What Is Reputation Management?

Our experts answer.

Our PR and growth experts explain entrepreneurs the role of Reputation Management. Who is responsible for reputation management? When do you need it? How is this a part of Public Relations? Examples of PR areas that deal with reputation management can be found here.

Messaging Experts

Emily Reynolds Bergh, Founder of R Public Relations Firm

"The need for reputation management arises when something goes wrong in your business that the public isn't too happy about—the idea of “cancel culture” is a very real phenomenon, and it’s created a very real need for reputation management for both businesses and businesspeople by professionals trained and equipped to handle the fallout of unfortunate and often unforeseen events.

There’s a call for reputation management when your market—your audience, your clients, your subscribers, your organizational constituency—is not happy about one or more of your decisions as a collective business entity or when your business is drowning in negative reviews. I would argue that it’s a good idea to have a reputation management strategy in place when things are going well too, because, hey, you just never know! We live in very fast-moving, visible times—you need to be prepared to respond quickly and transparently if you’re hit with a wave of bad news.

I regularly remind people that PR is “public” relations, so ensuring that your reputation meets expected standards in your industry should be a major part of any PR campaign. It should reflect all that your business stands for, all it strives to be—and not just during times of crisis, but in your daily operations and routine business practices.

If you are the owner or president of a company and you make a political move, or even a move that can be interpreted as political, it will likely have ramifications on your reputation. You’d want to consult a pro for guidance on those ramifications. We saw quite a lot of this during the pandemic—for example, masks vs. no masks policies, required proof of vaccination vs. no such requirement, some businesses making a big splash about pandemic-related issues, some minimizing them. These were often seen as political moves even if they weren’t intended as such, even if they were just by-products of attempting to respond to the changing safety guidelines. My team doesn’t claim to be experts in pandemics, epidemics, or any other type of natural disaster; but we are messaging experts. When long-standing businesses are facing short-term unpredictable and unstable circumstances, that’s when messaging can be crucial, when appropriate and accurate messaging can make or break your business."


Online Reputation

Evan Nierman, CEO and Founder of Red Banyan

"Online reputation management refers to the ability to influence how your brand is viewed online. Your company’s online reputation is a combination of the overall image your organization projects along with others’ perception of what your brand offers. If you own a company, you are in charge of its reputation. If you don’t know how to manage the reputation, you can hire PR experts like those at Red Banyan to handle the job for you.

Keeping an eye on the big picture of your online reputation and taking immediate action is key to surviving and turning your brand’s image around. It’s all part of PR because it is all part of maintaining your brand’s good name. Social media alerts are a useful resource for businesses or personal use to let you know when your company’s name is mentioned online."


Referral Business

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls

"Having people speak highly of you/your business is incredibly important to building a strong brand especially when most of your work comes by referral/word of mouth. Reputation management today is about seizing control over your online narrative/the image your company generates in the hearts and minds of customers/employees/partners/stakeholders including online reviews/consumer complaint forums/news articles/your social presence/visibility in search results. Everyone must consider the role each factor plays in shaping/defining your online image to cultivate the impression you’re making publicly to know how you’re perceived and which actions you’re compelling among consumers/customers."


Career Rehabilitation

Michelle Gamble, Owner of 3L Publishing and PR

"Reputation management is typically a part of a public relations campaign. If you pull from current headlines (and I wrote a blog on the subject), the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial is an ideal example of how reputation management can rehabilitate someone's career and image. Depp's PR team has done an excellent job of leveraging the Internet and social media to see Johnny as a kind, decent man. If you watch what is on Tik-Tok, I'm sure they've had a hand in it. All of the images and videos show Depp literally kissing and hugging babies and fans. Whereas Heard's team has failed her (well, she failed herself with the donations not being made and the bed pooping thing, which earned her the nickname Amber Turd). Due to a great legal defense and a wonderful PR effort, I foresee Depp's career on a comeback."


Present Your Best Self

Kenny Kline, President & Financial Lead at BarBend

"According to me, your company's reputation is how consumers, future employees, and investors perceive it. All of these variables can be affected by a single nasty review, tweet, or Facebook post. Your brand's reputation could be tarnished in a matter of retweets, likes, and shares if you do not have a strategy in place that includes someone responding to these concerns within 24 hours of their receipt. You never want to convey the impression that the customer's feedback is unimportant to your business. Utilize reputation management to present your company in the best possible light. Ensure that you are the go-to firm for solving difficulties in your industry or the best service by monitoring and responding to every review."


Analyzing the Desires and Requirements of Your Customers.

Mark Valderrama, Owner and CEO at Aquarium Store Depot

"I believe that reviewing all of your reviews will also provide you with insight into what is working and what is not working with your business. Customers will undoubtedly identify both the items they cannot get enough of and those they could live without. Refine your business by identifying these complaints and tracking the recurring ones. This will not only improve your bottom line, but it will also demonstrate that your company is inventive and able to adapt to the times. Consumers will value the fact that you take their values into account and view them as an integral part of your business. This will assist in building brand loyalty and rapport."


Chief Communications Officer (CCO)

Max Whiteside, SEO & Content Lead at Breaking Muscle

"Internal and external communications play important roles in an organization's reputation, thus your Chief Communications Officer (CCO), or someone in a similar position, is also responsible for reputation management.

The communications around such efforts play a part in reputational management, whether it's encapsulating the strategic plan, the code of conduct, various campaigns, or diversity and inclusion efforts in a variety of forms for internal and external audiences. During times of crisis, the CCO will very certainly be engaged in discussions."


Fruitful Deeds

Sam Browne, CEO of HARO SEO

"To put simply, reputation management plays an imperative role in the general public’s discourse alongside stakeholder views surrounding the lens of a company, including its brands and services. Public relations personnel takes part in monitoring the company’s perceptions in another’s eye and minimizing risks. It is likewise their responsibility to ameliorate any awful reputation, if any, while boosting the company’s reputation through fruitful deeds. Ultimately, reputation management indirectly falls under the umbrella ofmarketing; without the latter, the marketing collaterals and techniques areinevitably compromised."


Management Of One's Reputation Is A Practice

Nick Rubright, Digital Marketing & E-commerce Growth Specialist at SuperCan Bully Sticks

"I would say that reputation management is the process of influencing what and how stakeholders perceive a brand or individual. Reputation management is primarily concerned with influencing the sentiment of individuals by altering what they see during search, social, and other online interactions. Reputation management can have offline effects as well. Management of one's reputation is a practice. Typical reputation management programme activities include customer experience, online marketing, social media, search engine results, online ratings and reviews, and customer satisfaction initiatives. Significant amounts of communication occur online. We make new acquaintances, resolve conflicts, discover new businesses, and read the news. Even our leisure time is spent online. Therefore, it is inevitable that reputation management will take place primarily online; in fact, the terms reputation management and online reputation management are now practically synonymous."


Brand Trust

Sumit Bansal, Founder & CEO at TrumpExcel

"I would say that reputation management as a practice resides in the vast world of sales and marketing. Because what consumers think of a brand affects every aspect of that brand. It is nearly impossible to sell a product to a clientele that does not believe in or trust your brand. With an effective plan for managing your reputation, you can pave the way for positive messages to have the greatest impact. The higher your conversion rate, the better your reputation. All of these instances illustrate how the emergence of online communication platforms has weakened reputation. People who have had a negative experience with a business can now publish their opinions online, potentially reaching thousands or millions of individuals."


User-Generated Material

Bram Jansen, Chief Editor of vpnAlert

"Prior to a few years ago, the Internet was significantly different. They sold (or attempted to sell) to a passive audience without engaging customers. People were unable to communicate effectively, and the whole communication environment was dominated by authoritative figures. The circumstances have altered drastically. No longer are websites simply online brochures. There must be user-generated material. And consistent social network interactions are essential to the success of any firm. Regardless of the size of your business, people are discussing you, including prospects, customers, clients, and their friends. They are tweeting about your most recent product, leaving comments on your site, commenting on Facebook about their customer experience, and much more. If you believe that reputation management can be neglected or that you can succeed without considering the voices, opinions, and reviews of the public, you are mistaken."


Bad Online Results Removal

Dean Lee, Head of Marketing at Sealions

"Reputation management is about strengthening your brand image, not deleting the past. PR agencies can't control what people see or what newspapers post, nor can they remove coverage. Online Reputation Management influences search outcomes. Most people Google for the bad news. It's hard to interrupt the pattern because those parts keep ranking highly. Large organizations must do this daily. Negative coverage can be devastating for smaller enterprises and startups.

Bad online results removal: The bad online press is best removed. That means addressing the publication, reviewer, or Reddit moderator. The first, is the humanitarian approach. Tell the relevant people how this article is harming your company, finances, or relationships, and ask them to remove it. Not always. Financial incentives are another option. Some websites will answer, which is unethical but potentially fix your problem."


Awareness Of Impact

Brandon Schroth, Founder of Reporter Outreach

"The responsibility for reputation management typically falls on the marketing or communications team. However, it is important for everyone in the organization to be aware of how their actions can impact the company's reputation.

There are a variety of ways to proactively manage your company's reputation. Here are a few tips:

1. Make sure your website and social media presence are up-to-date and professional.
2. Respond quickly and honestly to any negative reviews or comments online.
3. Proactively promote your company's positive reviews and testimonials.
4. Be proactive in monitoring your company's online reputation and address any negative sentiment promptly.
5. Encourage employees to be positive ambassadors for your company both online and offline."


Plan for Reputation Management

William Westerlund, Co-Founder at Almvest

"Reputation management, originally a public relations term, refers to the act of influencing, controlling, enhancing, or concealing the reputation of an individual or group. The expansion of the internet and social media contributed to the expansion of reputation management firms, with search results constituting a crucial aspect of a client's reputation. Management of product and service search engine results is the primary focus of online reputation management, also known as ORM.

Positive reputation inspires customer loyalty, which is a significant revenue and growth driver. A negative reputation can be detrimental to sales and customer retention, but it can also provide insight into what customers appreciate, which can be useful for adapting business processes to better meet consumer needs.

Let's examine a sample plan for managing your company's reputation that you can modify to meet your specific needs. It is crucial to remember that reputation management is a continuous process, so neither step is one-and-done; they should be consistent for as long as your business is operational.

1. Research and audit
2. Implement a management strategy.
3. Based on comments, feedback, and reviews, take action.
4. Continuously perform steps one through three."


Talent Acquisition

David Farkas, Founder & CEO at The Upper Ranks

"Companies with strong favorable reputations attract better employees. They are believed to provide more value, which allows them to become a market leader. Most businesses, on the other hand, do a poor job of managing their reputations in general and the dangers to their reputations in particular. They tend to concentrate their efforts on dealing with existing challenges to their reputations. This is not risk management; it is crisis management, a reactive approach aimed at mitigating damage. In the world of digitalization, it is more important than ever because a small percentage of negative reviews can build or break your future prospects of doing business and staying in the market. So, it is necessary to take the necessary steps in order to keep your business afloat. This is the point that will help you develop your company's image, reputation, and eventually ROI from the feedback in the form of purchases or services."


Understanding Value

Kristina Lopez, Marketing Director at Incrementors

"While public relations is not a direct sales strategy, the positive information about a company or people that is spread over time will add to overall brand growth in terms of new customers and business. The idea is that the more people who know about you and like what they know, the more likely you are to build a following of individuals who will buy your product or service. It would be misleading to claim that this reputation development occurs immediately or that a brand will see an immediate increase in sales after launching a PR campaign, but all successful brands include public relations as part of their long-term marketing strategy because they understand the value it brings to the bottom line."


Key For Buyer's Decision

Oberon Copeland, Retail & Marketing Advisor, Owner Of Veryinformed.com

"The best way to define reputation management is through this quote: “your products are only as good as buyers think they are.”

The success of your enterprise is anchored on how positive your company’s reputation is to the public. If your reputation is tainted, then buyers will be moved to pursue other (competitor) solutions, regardless of your products’ formulation and competitive pricing.

Realistically speaking, your company’s reputation is not something you explicitly say but is implicated throughout your organizational structure. This includes your legal department, marketing, communications, and customer experience. So it’s imperative that all these departments are on the same page when building a company’s repute.

You need reputation management the moment you begin an enterprise. You should pay attention to postings on social media sites like Twitter where conversations are mostly public, Google Maps where there are star ratings, and review sites like Yelp to work on your PR. A mishap in your reputation can cost thousands, even millions of dollars for Fortune 500 companies."


Social Initiatives

Eric Elggren, Co-Founder of Andar

"Reputation Management is possibly the most important job of your Public Relations team. For instance, how the outside world views your brand can make or break your business, and it’s imperative to mitigate any and all situations that arise when in the public eye. Exceptional customer service, impressive social initiatives and a clean bill of social media health are all things that can continue to bring in customers and help your business thrive."


Committee Of Key Internal Leaders

Michelle Mastrobattista, Founder & Creative Marketing Strategist at Brand Paradise

"Reputation management involves multiple stakeholders in an organization, including PR, marketing, customer service, IT, and HR, so it should be a committee of key internal leaders. Your PR team drives your messaging, so they should oversee this committee to ensure that your message is disseminated consistently across channels.

Reputation management activities might include SEO to clean up your online search results, drafting responses to negative online reviews, public relations to put out more positive news stories, and media monitoring to alert your organization of any positive or negative customer sentiment changes.

It is also a good idea to always have a crisis plan. Crisis management and reputation management go hand in hand. Think of every possible thing that could go wrong in your business and craft a plan for each scenario, including holding statements, process/chain of command, identifying spokespeople, and conducting tabletop exercises to prepare."


Address Negative Claims Openly

Adam Hempenstall, CEO & Founder of Better Proposals

"A company’s reputation is how consumers, potential employees, and investors see it. The problem is that just one negative review or social media post is enough to taint that image. That considering, everyone employed by your organisation is responsible for your Reputation Management. Still, where the RM matters the most are social media, online forums, blogs, and review sites. That’s where you should focus your PR efforts and address negative claims openly and directly right there where they appear."


Leverage Media Outlets

Breanna Suden, Owner at Suden PR

"The crux of the public relations industry is to manage and disseminate information on behalf of our clients to, in turn, affect their public perception. Reputation management is a strategy that comes into play when companies are looking to shape stakeholder perceptions and take control of public conversations about themselves and their brands. And in this digital age where fake news, scams and product recalls are prevalent, managing a positive reputation and building consumer trust is more important than ever. This can be done by leveraging media outlets and techniques to improve your public image including: positive media stories, influencer marketing, responding to online reviews, and more. A great example of reputation management can be seen in KFC when some of their locations were suffering from a chicken shortage.. KFC got ahead of the conversation by sharing a tongue-in-cheek advertisement with the letters of the company rearranged to FCK, taking ownership of the issue with a humorous apology. Even though there was still a shortage, they were able to smooth over the unfortunate circumstances with consumers by poking fun at themselves."


Proactively Monitoring Perceptions

Diana Sparacio, Marketing Manager at Wheels Up Collective

"Reputation management is a responsibility that typically falls under the public relations team since we’re constantly searching for advantageous opportunities or to detonate reputational threats. Although reputation management has many components, to summarize it’s the practice of proactively monitoring perceptions of a brand and the conversations that are happening about the brand."


Authenticity

Melissa DiGianfilippo, President of Public Relations at Serendipit Consulting

"With reputation management, goals and objectives are set out by a good public relations team. Times of crisis present the opportunity for companies to achieve growth.

It’s important to continue to engage audiences during these times of uncertainty or change. Customers tend to connect more with brands that send out the right message, illustrating strength,resilience and even humanizing the brand by being a bit vulnerable. Talk about the best way to build close-knit relationships with customers! Authenticity always gives you a leg up. That’s where PR comes in: helping clients send out the right message at the right time."



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