No matter how big your business is, someone is talking about you. At least one of your clients has written a Yelp review, posted a Facebook status, or posted on Instagram about your business.
At a basic level, reputation management is the process of monitoring what “the market” is saying about you and managing it. You can do this by responding to customer reviews on social media, using digital marketing strategies like influencer marketing, using social media, and many more. If you want to read more about these strategies, check out these online reputation management solutions for business.
What is reputation? The CEO of the Reputation Institute, Dr. Charles Fombrun, defines it as “[the] collective assessment of an organisation’s past actions and results that describes the organisation’s ability to deliver valued outcomes to multiple stakeholders.”
Your reputation is made up of: what your shareholders think, how well your company meets its current customer needs, your past actions, your future (planned) actions, your target market’s view of your company (positive, neutral, or negative), and the general “public view” of your company (again positive, neutral, or negative).
A strong reputation can offer lucrative side-effects: (bullet list)
Having a great reputation can give new products a high chance of a successful launch!
Your brand can become the top choice for your ideal group of customers.
Having a high brand equity means you may be able to charge a premium price.
Other companies will be more interested in working with you.
Your company is more attractive to the media.
How is your reputation made
Your reputation is made up of essentially 4 things:
- what outside articles say about you
- how your employees talk about you
- what your customers think about you
- and what your customers are saying to each other.
It all boils down to what experience people are having with you.
What else affects your reputation? Here’s a more detailed list of reputation factors from the London School of Public Relations:
Information from mass media: advertising, news and print media, TV, radio
Engagement: social media, peer-to-peer referrals, recommendations/endorsements (including awards)
Personal experience: Was my experience consistent with your brand promise and messaging?
Reinforcement: If other trusted sources also echo the above factors. Increasingly these sources are forums, opinion sites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
PR vs Reputation Management
You can really think of Reputation Management as a more evolved form of the classical school of PR thought.
Reputation Management was really shaped during the 1990’s, when computers were shaking up the landscape of Corporate America. According to the London School of Public Relations, this was following “a number of high profile corporate scandals and the rise of social media and online reputation management.”
PR and Reputation Management have lots of overlapping areas as disciplines. The main difference being the overarching philosophies.
Classical PR can be very short term focused. Often focused on “getting the soundbite”.
“The classic PR approach emphasised short-term strategies and the manipulation of corporate image and was heavily media relations based. Emphasis was largely tactical rather than strategic, and PR practitioners often had a limited understanding of business models, overall corporate strategy and the financial and regulatory constraints that business operated within.” – The London School of Public Relations
Reputation Management on the other hand takes a “whole” approach. It’s about making sure your brand delivers, and that it delivers in a way that’s sustainable long term.
In Reputation Management there’s a greater emphasis on forging strong bonds with your customers, communicating your values and brand message in engaging ways, and properly using the powerful social tools that are available.