A corporation’s reputation can make or break the business. Who hasn’t heard the unfortunate examples of Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom? These are all companies that failed to recover after devastating scandals ruined their reputations. There are many more examples of similar stories. At the same time, there are also corporations that thrive year after year as respected organisations. Some examples are Johnson & Johnson and Cisco Systems. Corporate reputation played an important role in each of these examples.
What Is a Corporate Reputation?
It’s sometimes easy to tell if a corporation has a really bad reputation or a really good one. However, measuring corporate reputation has not yet been perfected. It can be tricky to tell how the general population feels about a specific corporation. How the public feels about a corporation is essentially the definition of corporate reputation. More specifically, some experts note that the company image or reputation is determined by a variety of stakeholders or constituents, and is built over time.
What’s important to remember is that corporate reputation isn’t the same as image or corporate identity. Corporate identity is what the corporation itself communicates through its branding, commercials and services. A corporation’s image refers to some stakeholder’s opinions of the organisation. However, reputation truly shows how all stakeholders feel about the corporation, its communications and its actions.
How Do Some Corporations Earn and Maintain Their Sterling Reputations?
It’s not by chance that some corporations are able to enjoy a positive position in the public eye. Leadership, management, operations, the quality of products and services, and relationships with stakeholders all influence the strength of a corporation’s reputation. Communications practises and how well the corporation seeks and responds to feedback also influence this reputation. As you can see in the embedded PDF document, managing corporate reputation has its perks and there are some characteristics shared between organisations that are doing things right.
The practise of trying to influence a company’s reputation is called corporate reputation management. Need an overview? Check out the embedded video, which offers a short introduction to what corporate reputation management is.
How Does Corporate Reputation Management Work?
In a loose comparison, one group of experts, Hutton et al. said that corporate reputation management is similar to “trying to manage one’s own popularity”. This doesn’t mean that corporate reputation management has to be as awkward as managing one’s own popularity might sound. Another expert, Charles Fombrun, rightly compares corporations to citizens. In order to build a reputation, they must “act like good citizens,” he says. By reading the attached infographic, you’ll see how stakeholders form their opinions about corporations, which in turn determines their reputations.
Effective corporate reputation management means that organisations incorporate these concerns and goals into the very fibre of the corporation in the form of policies and actions. As is true with being popular, corporate reputation management also largely relies on relationships. Companies with strong reputations have excellent relationships that they manage carefully to ensure both sides benefit. Just as much as a corporation looks out for itself and its employees, it must also ensure customers and the local community are benefitting.
As discussed, there are many factors to consider when studying how corporations manage and influence their reputations. In an important, in-depth study, researchers Kitchen and Laurence discovered the following important points that summarise their findings, which are relevant to any organisation interested in managing its reputation:
- Corporate reputations are growing in importance
- The need to measure reputations in a systematic way is also growing in importance
- There are three major players that influence reputation: customers, employees and the CEO
- A good corporate reputation can help an organisation grow its business abroad and prepare new market areas
- The CEO plays the role of the chief communicator and as such, that person’s reputation is very much intertwined with the corporation’s reputation
- Managing reputation is a key component of managing in general and must be led by the CEO, who must integrate it into the management strategy
Corporate reputation management is possible when made a priority and has many benefits, including financial ones. However, it is an ongoing process that must always be tended to and cultivated to achieve the most desirable outcomes.
Companies today are facing a steadily increasing online community, with lots of information being shared all the time. What people say about your brand or business online will make the difference between making money and losing market share to your competition. Online Reputation Management (ORM) offers you great tools that will ensure a fair view of your business online so you get the revenue you deserve. There are many ways that ORM works to engage the public in the spaces that they share information and will give you the positive exposure you need.
Keeping Active Online
People want to do business with a company that has an active presence on social media and the internet. In addition to publicising your products or services, frequent contributions of relevant content will help to engage potential customers. If you ever face a tide of negative news about your company, all of the positive content you have posted will help to mitigate the damage. Google tends to promote content that has been online for a long time and will also give precedence to popular items.
Project A Realistic Image
There is no law that says the information people publish about your company has to be accurate. In many cases people will overlook the importance of your reputation and write things that may not be fair. By using ORM, you can ensure that the image people form of your business is fair and your positive aspects are featured.
Growth From Negative PR
Everyone knows that mistakes are inevitable. When it comes to negative PR, you want to make sure that you talk to unhappy customers in a public way and show that your company cares. You can easily turn a bad news story into a demonstration of your commitment to fixing mistakes, but you need to take the initiative and address issues as they arise.
No matter what field your business operates in, using ORM to make sure your image is safe makes sense. Choosing to enlist the help of a professional ORM company is a good idea, so you can rest assured that your image is safe in the hands of professionals. Make sure to choose a firm that has a track record of getting positive results and will talk you through the entire process. When it comes to your business image is everything, so don’t leave it to chance.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) can take a number of forms, but it all comes down to one thing: showing the online world a positive image. ORM relies on quality content that gets placed prominently on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), which will show people the good parts of your business or public persona.
The vast majority of people will never click through to the second or third page of Google, so if you get positive content featured prominently, your image will be given balanced representation online. Reputation management isn’t something you should wait to implement after negative information has gone viral; the most effective strategies are preventive. If you want to know more about ORM, and what it can do for you, have a look at this brief guide.
The Fundamentals of ORM
A successful ORM strategy can be seen as falling into two categories.
- Creating a Presence With Great Content
- Making Sure the Content Is Easy to Find
The most important part of ORM is the content. Today Google’s search algorithms are designed to promote content that is both well-written and creates interest. This means creating high-quality content for your ORM programme is important.
Once you have a solid stream of great content that shows your image in a positive light, it is time to get it where people can find it. Many people choose to use blogs and social media to do this, but YouTube can be a great place to be seen as well. As stated above, quality content reigns supreme, so trying to blanket the web in shoddy content isn’t a good idea.
Start A Conversation
Social media gives you the ability to engage the online community like never before, so that you can give your image an interactive feel. People love connecting with a public figure, or attaching a personality to a company. Branding has been doing this for years, but ORM uses the same idea to your benefit. If negative publicity ever becomes a concern, you will be glad you spent the time to build up a safeguard.
Online reputation management is growing all the time and many people choose to enlist the help of professionals. ReputationDefender has a long history of getting results and we only use the best practices in the marketplace. Ultimately your online image is at stake, so do what you can to protect it.
With an incredible 77% of businesses admitting to Googling any potential employee before hiring them, maintaining a positive image online has never been so essential. Whether it’s a bad review or just an embarrassing old photo, it’s all too easy for negative content to appear alongside your name or brand in online search results.
Is It Therefore Possible to Remove This Negative Content from Search Results?
Well, the answer is yes and no. Yes, there are some “right to be forgotten” laws that mean you can demand for outdated or irrelevant content to be removed, but this only applies to a fairly narrow set of circumstances. For the most part, reviewers and publishers have every right to write what they like, so no – you can’t demand for content to be removed. Therefore, one of the best options for reducing the impact of negative content is to seek out expert online reputation management.
What Is The “Right to Be Forgotten”?
The right to be forgotten was first introduced to EU law in 2012 when Spanish businessman Mario Costeja Gonzalez argued that a sixteen year old article about his financial difficulties was no longer relevant. Because it appeared whenever people Googled his name, it was having an unnecessarily negative impact on his business dealings. The court agreed with Mr Gonzalez and the right to be forgotten will now soon be enshrined in EU General Data Protection Regulations.
Recent examples of the right to be forgotten in action include old newspaper articles detailing crimes a person was later exonerated of. However, the rules around this issue are quite tight. There are plenty of cases where Google can refuse to remove content. In fact, during 2015-16, 75% of requests for information removal have been denied. So, although the right to be forgotten can be a useful tool in some cases, it cannot be relied upon.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Instead of removing or un-Googling content, online reputation management is a practice designed to more positively promote content. Through high quality SEO backlinks, social media and blogs, reputation management takes a holistic approach to making sure search results show brands in a positive light.
Online reputation management eliminates the need to remove negative content, simply by actively promoting positive content. This is a great approach for improving personal or brand image online.
For everything from massive brands to single individuals, online reputation is essential. Whether its customers searching for your service, or employers deciding if they want to hire you; the prominent presence of negative or embarrassing content among search results can have a disastrous impact on people’s opinions.
Here are five top tips to help neutralise the effect of negative content online:
Firstly, you need to be aware of what’s being published about you and how it could influence opinion of you or your brand. Keep an eye on search results and think about how pictures and posts on social media might be making you look. Once you understand the full state of your online reputation, you’ll be better equipped to manage and improve it.
Manage Your Own Profiles
In 2016, a third of employers turned down candidates due to their social media profiles. Sorting through and removing embarrassing material on your own social media profiles, blogs, or websites is a simple step that can go a long way towards improving your personal brand online.
Engage with Negative Comments
Negative comments can be made positive if you take the time to engage with customer’s concerns. Rather than allowing negative comments to turn readers away, use the opportunity to showcase high levels of customer service. Engaging with customers also encourages them to post more positive comments about your brand in the future.
Identify search terms relevant to negative content and incorporate them into your own positive content. The result of this will be that, even if users search directly for negative material, search engines will present them with positive content about you or your brand.
Promote Positive Content
Posting high quality content via blogs, videos and social media profiles – as well as commenting on more influential blogs – will create a network of positive material related to you brand. If done with a high enough quality, the positive pages should outrank the negative in search results and therefore make them less visible.
Uploading high quality content doesn’t only have to be about dealing with negative material though. A strong online presence that’s engaging to customers will shine your brand in a positive light and improve your overall brand image.