What is reputation management?
With the extensive developments in this field of public relations, in tune with the growth of the Internet and social media, along with the advent of reputation management companies, the overall perspective of search results has become an integral part of what defines “reputation” and, as a result of all these developments, reputation management now exists under two spheres: online and offline reputation management.
Online reputation management focuses on managing search results for products and services within the digital space, which is why it is common to see the same suggested links on the first page of a Google search. ORM systems are built into various e-marketplaces and online communities such as e-Bay, Amazon, and Alibaba, and the use of effective control nodes can minimize the threat and protect systems from potential misuse and abuse by malicious network nodes. decentralized overlays.
Offline reputation management shapes public perception of such entity outside of the digital sphere using selected and clearly defined controls and measures towards a desired outcome that ideally represents what stakeholders think and feel about that entity. The most popular controls for offline reputation management include social responsibility, media visibility, print media press releases, and sponsorship, among other related tools.
In the last decade of active users of social media, marketing a business and promoting its products online have become large components of businesses and their strategies. When it comes to reputation management, companies try to be more aware of how they are perceived by their audience, both within and outside of their target market. One problem that often arises from this is false advertising. In the past, the contribution of Internet publications and blogs to a business would have been a foreign concept to most businesses and their consumers. However, due to the increase in the number of competitors in the market, it is becoming more and more difficult to get noticed and be popular within the field of online business or among influencers due to how algorithms work on social networks.
First, we will provide a more detailed explanation of reputation management, which will demonstrate how important a good reputation is.
Second, we will demonstrate how much control you have over your reputation.
Finally, we will ask the question: can reputation be managed?
Everyone can benefit from learning more about the subject, whether they are starting to build a personal brand or are in charge of public relations for a large company. If your company’s reputation is in jeopardy, understanding the fundamentals of reputation management is critical to the survival of your business.
If you want to shape your own personal reputation, knowing what is at stake, who is in control, and how to influence people’s perceptions starts with the same fundamental question: What is reputation management?
Definition of reputation management
This is our definition of reputation management:
Reputation management is the effort to influence what people think of a brand or person and how they do it.
1. Reputation management is mainly done online
You cannot control what a person thinks. But you can control what you see, which in turn determines how you think.
A great deal of communication takes place online. We meet friends, resolve disagreements, discover new business, and read the news. We even spend our leisure time online. It is inevitable, therefore, that reputation management takes place especially in the online space; in fact, the terms reputation management and online reputation management are now practically synonymous.
Reputation management takes place online because that is where most of our communication occurs. But there is also another reason, in the online world one does not focus on changing one’s mind individually, instead, reputation arbiters such as Google, Yelp, online publications, and YouTube are often the target.
2. Reputation affects sales and marketing
Reputation management as a practice resides in the broader world of sales and marketing. Why? Because what people think of a brand influences everything related to that brand. It is almost impossible to sell a product to a clientele who do not trust or believe in your brand.
With a good reputation management plan, you can clear the way for positive messages to have the maximum effect. The better your reputation, the better your conversion rate.
3. Reputation is essential for the survival of a company
We are not exaggerating when we write that reputation management is essential to the survival of a business. Enron disappeared after the corruption and the subsequent public relations backlash. Other giants like BP, Wells Fargo, and United Airlines have been able to withstand the reputational blows, but not without serious costs.
These are all examples of how the emergence of online communication platforms has made reputations more delicate. Whereas before, people who had a bad experience with a company only told a few close friends, now they have the ability to post their opinions online, where they can reach thousands, even millions of people. Today, a single poorly managed situation can quickly sink a company into bankruptcy.
4. Reputation is important for both personalities and companies
So far we have focused mostly on reputation management when it comes to companies, but it is also important for people. It’s an area of interest for the billionaire hedge fund manager trying to cover up an affair that has been made public. It’s pivotal for the singer who accidentally made a big real estate photography mistake even bigger; in fact, she coined a new term, the Streisand effect.
Since personalities are usually companies, it makes sense that they benefit from reputation management. Most people in the modern world cannot live their lives in anonymity. If people know your name, they will Google it. It is simply what people do.
They don’t just Google your name. They also read your business reviews and talk about your brand on social media. With all these different channels at play and honest ways to quickly destroy your reputation, taking an active stance to show your best face online is essential. The image that is displayed when your name or business is typed into a search engine can help or hurt you. People are binary in their judgment: there is often no middle ground.
Those of us who don’t have a great personality or billions to our name can sometimes afford to manage our reputations ourselves, which is called DIY reputation management. We’re ready after posting a flattering photo on Facebook, a feature reel on Instagram, or a resume on LinkedIn that only slightly exaggerates our finer points. People do it every day, especially influencers.
Individuals with the most at stake – such as a personality making money or billions to their name – may need to bring in the heavy artillery.
5. About 87% reverse a purchase decision if there are reputational issues
As we’ve noted, if your reputation goes down, so will your business. In fact, 87% of customers reverse a purchase decision after viewing negative content about a brand or product online.
It’s no wonder, then, that companies spend tens of thousands of dollars a month in an effort to preserve or enhance their reputations. If you knew you can avoid a potentially devastating crisis, wouldn’t you pay the comparatively low price of a good reputation?
As search engines have replaced word-of-mouth referrals, online reputation management has become an industry that claims to exert enormous influence on public opinion. A company’s reputation is its rating on Yelp, its denial in the New York Times, or its viral burnout on Colbert. What appears at the top of search results is what people see, believe, and respond to.
6. Can reputation management be abused?
Yes. Reputation management is abused for nefarious purposes. Like almost everything in life, reputation management has an ethical dark side. You cannot simply decide that reputation management is inherently bad or good. It is used for both. By the way, Reputation X is one of the good guys.
A Business Insider article shoots reputation management with a bazooka, starting with the headline: “Inside the dirty world of reputation management, where people pay to control what is seen on the Internet.”
And, yes, reputation management has its abusers, just as there are those who abuse the natural beauty of a stick by hitting someone over the head with it.
Some thieves hire reputation management professionals to challenge a company so that perpetrators can short-sell their stock and win like real bandits. Others, meanwhile, launch a flamethrower at a CEO’s reputation, profiting from the ensuing drop in share prices.
Fortunately, the bulk of reputation management is not bad.
7. Is reputation management a legitimate practice?
Yes. Reputation management exists, in part, because people are more likely to believe, share, and spread negative news than positive news. We as humans have evolved to react to threats, which has developed a “negativity bias.” Essentially, bad news gets more clicks, more attention, and ultimately more revenue for the media. So a single misstep can snowball and have long-lasting effects on your reputation.
Like a garden, reputation needs to be taken care of. However, many companies lack the time, experience, or knowledge to tweak their Wikipedia article, polish the “About Us” page, or request some more positive reviews on review sites like Glassdoor, Yelp, or Google Reviews.
A family-owned coffee shop may need professional input to improve its Yelp ratings. An online retailer may want help improving their product descriptions and ratings on Amazon, and so on.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to reputation management. However, there are a number of legitimate, ethical, and effective tools to navigate the process.
Who controls your reputation?
Perhaps the most important question about reputation management is Who controls your reputation? This is the biggest sticking point in understanding reputation management, and it’s a big reason why reputational mismanagement is so rampant. Misunderstanding this first crucial point leads to a multitude of sins, missteps, confusion, and outright mistakes.
A brand or an individual has no control over what people think. But you do have some control over what people see and can therefore manage what people think.
Although there is no scientific way to analyze how much of your reputation is under your control, here is a useful way to visualize it. If your reputation is the big blue box at the bottom, the part you control is the white box at the bottom left, and it is very small.
And that’s our point. Reputation management is all about sentiment and visibility, where cognitive biases, individual perceptions, search results, and past experiences wield enormous power.
What do you control about your reputation?
Regarding the reputation of your company, you control the actions of your company or your personal brands (your own). And even at that point, your control may be limited. A restaurant can have a reputation problem for years because a waiter had a bad day.
Companies have many moving parts. Many companies have many employees, each of whom has a certain degree of autonomy in how they operate, what they say, and how they live their personal life.
Although you control a few things when running a business, you don’t control everything. It can not. And that leaves your reputation in the hands (more precisely, in the minds) of those who perceive your company. But when a negative review hits Yelp, you can have some control over who sees it and how often. It is even possible to remove some negative reviews.
Your actions as the leader of the company shape your reputation in some way. If, for example, you decide to embezzle millions of dollars, put cyanide in your donuts, or openly support gun smugglers, these actions will have a marked impact on your reputation.
What do you not control about your reputation?
Even if your actions are cautious, circumspect, and limited in scope, your reputation takes on a life of its own in the public mind. Your competitor across the street often has more influence on your business than you (eg, false reviews).
To clarify this point, let’s use a simple example. Let’s say you have a spaghetti restaurant. The quality, the hygiene, the training of the employees, the recipes, the atmosphere … he has worked hard to make sure that everything is perfect, that the sauce is well seasoned and that the spaghetti is piping hot when served.
One day, he serves a customer his tastiest plate of spaghetti at the normal serving temperature of 113 degrees. The customer, unfortunately, expected his noodle bowl to be 119 degrees. Early in his life, he had a horrible experience with colder than expected pasta, a memory now mixed with separation from his family, the experience of poverty, and hair loss. The customer rises from the table in a rage, accusing you of being the worst spaghetti restaurant in the entire Western Hemisphere, spitting their spaghetti on the plate, and causing all the other restaurant customers to stare at their own noodles in horror and disgust.
Instantly, your restaurant’s reputation is suspect. Although the other customers have enjoyed the dish, their restaurant experience is forever tainted by the customer with some unfortunate life experiences and misaligned expectations. Your reputation can be affected.
Yes, it is an extreme example, but the point is that you had no idea, much less control, over the individual with problematic family history and androgenetic alopecia.
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