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October 29, 2015

The importance of proactive reputation management

Reputation management requires all departments of a business to work together; a risk to a company’s reputation can come from any area and if it’s not managed correctly, you could face a PR crisis which has devastating effects.

Reputation report

shutterstock_239978956Igniyte conducted a study of 500 business owners and higher decision makers representing organisations throughout the UK on the subject of online reputation. The Reputation Report revealed that 88% believed having a positive online presence is important to the people who use their services.

The report highlighted that unwanted content posted online poses a serious threat to corporate reputation. Content is seen as a trusted source of information by Google, so it ranks on the first page of a Google search for your company’s name. Considering the fact that Google has over a billion users, unwanted content will be seen by your consumer base and damage your company’s reputation online.

Crisis management

If this happens, you’ll need to deploy a crisis management strategy. The Reputation Report showed that the companies polled lost £46,815 on average due to damaging online content. 9% lost £50,000 – £100,000, and almost a quarter (24%) said they’d lost £10,000 due to damaging online content.

If you deploy a crisis reputation management strategy, you can limit the effect that reputation-damaging content has on your company’s bottom line; but you won’t eliminate it.  If you want to avoids PR crises altogether, you’ll need to implement a reputation management strategy.

Reputation management

The two both depend on generating content (e.g. blog posts, social media, PR etc.) to provide online assets which strengthen the first page of a Google search for your name. However, whilst crisis management aims to displace unwanted content, reputation management is proactive strategy, which aims to make your company’s online reputation strong enough to resist the fallout of a PR crisis.

This means that reputation management is the proactive, continual process of ensuring that a company’s reputation is being upheld at all levels. If your customer service team drop the ball, they could cause unwanted reviews that damage your business’ reputation online. But so could the people who look after production, supplier relationships, internal processes etc. You need to ensure that your company upholds the highest standards at all times; that’s your best reputation management strategy.

Volkswagen

Unfortunately, mistakes do happen and when they do they could create a PR crisis. Just look at what happened recently with Volkswagen when news broke that they’d created a “defeat device” to help their cars cheat emissions tests. They deliberately made the decision to deceive millions of consumers across the world, taking a massive risk with their reputation.

The risk backfired; they were fined $18 billion, saw their share value fall 20%, are now possibly facing criminal charges, and their online reputation is in tatters. Igniyte recently asked how Volkswagen managed to miss this reputational risk. The truth is that they were careless, not one department spotted the risk this device posed to Volkswagen’s reputation both online and offline.

Reputation managers

Michael Volkov, CEO and owner of the Volkov Law Group LLC was quoted by Business2Community saying that: “Managing reputational risks requires attention and authority,” and that “in most cases, reputational risks are managed piecemeal in different parts of a company.”

It’s not enough to assume that standards are being upheld in each department – the responsibility for monitoring reputation risk has to be assigned to someone, otherwise there is no accountability and risks will go unnoticed.

If you’d like to talk about what changes you can make in your organisation to limit the risk of a reputation crisis and implement a proactive strategy, get in touch with me in complete confidence at simon@igniyte.co.uk or on +44 (0) 203 542 8689.

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