Although the title may be a bit confusing, today’s juncture serves as the perfect opportunity for us at ReputationDefender to establish the evident link between online reputation and environmentalism. Do a company’s polluting emissions harm its reputation? Many people would actually agree upon it, arguing that both customers and suppliers are less likely to do business with organizations that overlook the importance of being environmentally responsible. Many years ago, perhaps a decade, a research carried out in 2005 presented compelling evidence that dictated otherwise: the only adverse consequence suffered by companies that would disregard the importance of environmental regulation was the legal penalty and the costs commonly associated with cleanup and compliance.
But this is 2017: a massive iceberg just broke off from Antarctica and is drifting out to the sea. Things have changed environmentally speaking, and even though conventional wisdom would dictate that customers and suppliers will never punish companies for their emissions through the marketplace, the reality is in fact diametrically opposed. Today, adopting a leaner and greener standpoint has a tremendous impact on a company’s online reputation; today, it is not nonsensical to see individuals preferring not to do business with brands or companies that do not comply with today’s environmental recommendations. In fact, some people are reluctant to work for one of these companies, and even some suppliers disregard the possibility of selling their goods to polluters. Thus, it is clear that disregarding the impact today’s green trend has on a company’s online reputation does more harm than good: polluters will end up facing lower revenues and, eventually, higher costs and overhead. And it just snowballs from there: lower profits prevent companies from starting a proper online reputation strategy and complying with environmental regulations to remedy such situation, causing what is called a «reputational penalty».
It is undeniable that today’s digital era runs on different trends; however, given the fact that trends tend to die inexorably, raising awareness about climate change is not only a must but something positive for a brand. Companies doing businesses today should strive to demonstrate an original and genuine concern for the environment or suffer the consequences a negative online and corporate reputation can bestow upon them. Today’s world is full of multinational companies that live under constant evaluation, and such evaluation is not as intense as in the hydrocarbon industry: oil and gas companies.
Today’s juncture suggests that when it comes to addressing oil and gas companies, the first thing to assess is their environmental practices, as they must always be second to none; however, it is arguably questionable that today’s rising antagonism around these companies means that they can do much better. Oil and gas companies can, and actually need to, do a better job at convincing their audience and people in general that they are not just trying to remedy the consequences of constantly being under such evaluation; that they are not merely responding to the glare of such accusing spotlight.
Oil and gas companies, just like most everyone else on this planet, ought to show genuine concern about safeguarding and protecting the environment for future generations and their own; nonetheless, it is also important to point out, quite rightly by the way, that the term environmentalist has been entirely deformed by those with more radical and extreme points of view. In that sense, it is quite obvious that it is almost impossible to convince all of the earth’s environmentalists and green trends advocates; however, the basic idea is to reach out to the widest possible audience conveying a compelling message about being environmentally friendly.
When it comes to improving a company’s online reputation, especially if it is not as good as one might expect, the only possible way to achieve it is by going the extra mile; and taking that extra step that is found beyond the boundaries of that is usually expected from organizations: going beyond the law and regulations. And this is quite important: in the past, companies that were practically forced to comply with environmental regulations were highly open to falling victim of the media should anything bad happened, which caused them to assume a defensive stance—basically the worst case scenario when it comes to strengthening online reputation management.
In that sense, it is way better for oil and gas companies to show a proactive stance instead of always starting a feud with the press: public perceptions, irrespective of whether they are accurate or not, represent public perceptions, and, subsequently, they create regulations. Online Reputation Management is key for every company and every industry, thus, given the fact that it is affected by what the audience perceives as positive—which is true in this case—, embracing today’s environmental trend will not only be beneficial for a company’s ORM strategy but also will provide additional monetary benefits.
* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com