Regardless of whether you are running a local store, an online business or a large company; if you are a politician, actor, or Youtube sensation, reputation management is an important part of your life and career. Due to the accessibility of the internet, especially social media, it is now extremely convenient for people to communicate both information and misinformation about your brand to an increasingly large audience in a split second.
So, how can you be better prepared for those times when negative news about your brand spreads like wildfire? In this guide, you will learn about the role of reputation management in today’s media landscape and business branding. At the end of this post, we hope to have enlightened you and helped you understand how a clearly outlined reputation management plan can greatly impact as well as benefit your brand.
What is reputation management?
Obviously, reputation management is a set of strategies set in place to manage the image of a company of any size. This holds true for larger companies handling its self-promotion or for a start-up that wants to get its name out there. So, do you need one? Here’s a list of those that need a good reputation management plan. See if you can identify with any one of the following:
- A startup company that needs to gain exposure – It is basically building a business that’s just starting out with the image or reputation they want to be known by and maintain for the long run.
- A stable or large company that needs protection against attacks (bad reputation, negative PR) – Just because your business has passed the startup stage, does not mean you do not need a reputation management plan anymore. Maintaining a good reputation in the eyes of the public should always be a priority regardless of whether you’re a startup or an established firm.
- A brand that is currently dealing with a PR nightmare or one that wants redemption from a reputation crisis – One client review can make or break a business. So, if for any reason, your business gets caught in a bad reputation crisis, a recovery reputation management plan should always be on hand, ready to be implemented.
The role of social media in reputation management
Years ago, just like in outbound marketing, businesses were using the internet as a marketplace selling their products to passive consumers. Business owners did not engage their customers enough. Customers, likewise, simply did not have the avenue to voice their opinions of a brand in a powerful way, at least in a way that could actually be heard.
The days of such one-way communication between a business and its consumer are long gone today. Websites are no longer static and engaging content on your website is a must to those visiting your site. Having no regular interaction with your customers, lack of response to their concerns, or irresponsibly addressing those concerns both online and offline will definitely earn the brand a bad reputation instantly.
This is where an established and reputable public relations company like Affluence PR can help you. Affluence PR is an expert in public relations for retail and hospitality establishments in Asia. The team is committed to providing quality products and services for their customers. In turn, we, at Affluence PR, offer these establishments a comprehensive end-to-end solution, and a range of complete and integrated public relations services, including reputation crisis management. This way, your brand can have the best possible reputation and public awareness in its industry.
Embrace the openness but be prepared for its risks
If you are new to running a business, there is one thing you should know: it is important for you to be open to criticisms and feedback from your consumers. Taking a defensive stance and hitting back is not the strategy to adopt and likely to hurt the brand even more.
What does it mean to practice openness? Here are some ways you can show sincerity and at the same time foster engagement between your brand and its target audience:
- Allowing your employees to be your brand ambassadors and letting them talk about your business publicly;
- Regularly asking your audience for feedback;
- Acknowledging and addressing criticisms publicly instead of ignoring, or worse, concealing them;
- Creating a communication channel where customers can talk to you directly;
- Creating various avenues for your audience to talk about your brand or creating opportunities to collaborate with you for product development.
It may be easier said than done but there is actually truth in openness bringing good to many companies just as it has also brought massive failure to others. The thin line that separates the successes from the failures is their preparedness in handling a negative Yelp review, a long blog post rant, or a negative Twitter shout out. You see, good reputation management is not only about a good and prompt reaction to what people say about your brand. It is simply deciding whether to react at all, and if so, the best time to do it. Proper timing is key, as at times not reacting to an issue is the best reaction, while reacting too late may cost you a lawsuit, millions in cash, or worse, your entire business.
This is why a proactive approach to reputation management is what every business needs, whether you are just starting out or are already at the top – you never know when a crisis will strike, and when it does, you should always be well-prepared to act quickly. One way to achieve a proactive approach is to regularly monitor all your online and offline communication channels and be constantly on the lookout for criticisms and feedback from your clients.
Apart from reputation management, you can also think of it as good customer service. Doing so will let you address client concerns promptly, constantly improve your products and services, and add value to your brand.
Talk to us today. Let’s have a chat about how you can have the best all-in-one reputation management plan. At Affluence PR, we are ready to collaborate and are always excited to share our knowledge as well as learn from our clients.