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.