Category Archives: Reputation

ORM and the Environment: Environmental Reputation for Oil and Gas Companies

ORM and the Environment: Environmental Reputation for Oil and Gas Companies

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.

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

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

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Why has the drone industry such a bad online reputation?

Why has the drone industry such a bad online reputation?

The more disruptive the technological advances in our society, the more involved are their online reputation. This has happened to the steam engine, nuclear power, the Internet, and it has also happened to the drones during the current decade. When we talk about drones, it is impossible not to think about Star Wars and those epic battles waged by armies of machines, but in reality, the drones are not simply reduced to their military use. In fact, these unmanned machines have been particularly useful in rescuing lost or seriously injured hikers in hard-to-reach areas, as well as in the control of destructive forest fires, and in data collection in nuclear accidents, such as Fukushima, a few years ago. These are some of the thousands of non-military uses of drones, however, no matter how incredible they are, the public is not able to dissociate these remote-controlled crafts from the well-known images of bombings in Iraq or Syria, as well as the espionage activities for war. This is one of the main reasons for the bad online reputation of this industry.

So far, most drones for civilian use are small and – apparently – inoffensive. Although most were built for recreational use by buyers, many of them are used daily for data collection (for example, to measure the boundaries of an extensive property, to measure glacier displacement, to observe volcanic activity, among others.) But despite the technological advantages offered by drones, the market for these products has not been exploited to its full potential, and this is due to the unfavorable opinions of many people on the Internet about the risks to public safety, and the ease with which privacy (both physical and online) can be affected.

Media scandals are common. DJI, the world’s leading drone manufacturer, has been embroiled in an online reputation crisis due to a computer security breach. Because, among other reasons, some terrorist groups have been using drones from this company to execute their actions of espionage and bombing, DJI has taken control measures. Since this year, this Chinese company has developed a software update that forces users to indicate the geographical areas that they want to fly before using the drones; also, it checks the location of users and constantly downloads forbidden zones of flight. In case a user does not download the updates, the drone does not fly more than 164 feet away, or 98 feet in height, nor is it possible to do direct streaming.

Read also: Reconstructing a corporate Online Reputation, by ReputationDefender

This was partly due to the pressure from the authorities of several countries to comply with local and international standards. Nevertheless, a software already exists that allows DJI drones to fly through forbidden areas. This software allows you to bypass the height limits and even trick the GPS of DJI drones so that they can fly through airports, war zones, or even military installations. The software confuses the GPS of the drone to make it believe that it is flying over a safe zone, and it even makes it possible to break the limit of five hundred feet of height that DJI imposes to its drones.

The main security issue here lies in three main reasons. The first one is the immense availability of purchase of these drones. Years ago, those were items that only millionaires could afford, and they are now increasingly available to anyone (and that includes sociopaths, of course.) In addition, the great distances that these drones are able to travel without losing connection makes them a war tool difficult to control by the authorities. Finally, the versatility of these machines allows, for example, to drop a homemade bomb, or to take samples of chemical substances with the aim of stealing industrial secrets.

Image courtesy of Jeremy Keith at Flickr.com

Nonetheless, DJI has also been involved in another online reputation crisis, and this time has been due to the bad comments of its own users, especially in our country. Many of them believe that the main motivation for buying the advanced drones of this company is related to the great freedom it represents for them, and they believe that the limitations to the use of these products should come from local laws, rather than the company itself. It is a complicated case regarding who is right: Customers, or those who consider public safety and privacy.

These improvements will never be clean of controversy. Last year, the US army unveiled the production and use of insect-sized drones to carry out espionage activities in enemy territories during the current wars. These drones (some of them, the size of a mosquito,) can take DNA samples, take photos, record audio, and track a person’s location by GPS when getting into clothing or luggage. This can be a powerful weapon, or it can be seen as an Orwellian nightmare.

The problem is that if we compare the safety and privacy cons with the pros drones can offer, forbidding or limiting the use of these devices would mean a technological backwardness that could cost a lot of money and human lives.

Recommended: 9 Incredible Ways Drones Are Overcoming Their Bad Reputation

* Featured Image courtesy of Visual Hunt at Pexels.com

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What has Volkswagen been doing to repair its online reputation?

What has Volkswagen been doing to repair its online reputation?

The Diesel Gate case of Volkswagen, also known as the VW emissions scandal, has been one of the biggest online reputation crisis of the recent years. It happened two years ago after the United States Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the amounts of nitrogen oxides emitted by the TDI engines of this brand were much higher than those shown in the homologation tests. Volkswagen used a software that detected when the car was in the process of homologation to reduce pollutant emissions and thus pass the tests. There are still more than eleven million affected cars among the brands of the Volkswagen group, and therefore, this great company has been working on its online reputation.

Read also: The Volkswagen Online Reputation Challenge Just Begins, by ReputationDefender

Apparently, this company has not taken a real initiative to fix the problem. A large part of the actions that would help it to repair its damaged online reputation has been actually mandatory. At first, the company agreed to compensate its customers in the United States. Volkswagen has reached a court settlement: Giving customers the options for vehicle repair or giving the money back. The agreement was announced last year by the Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco. The agreement was conducted between US environmental authorities, consumers, and the state of California. It included substantial compensations for the consumers affected by the engine cracking. Volkswagen also pledged to create a second fund to alleviate the excessive emissions of nitrogen oxides, a product considered to be carcinogenic by health authorities.

However, while Volkswagen AG promised to distribute up to $ 10 billion to some 500,000 US vehicle owners, the nearly nine million customers in Europe would only get a one-hour visit with a dealer to repair their engines with a tube that regulates the flow of air or to receive a software update. The reason for this great disparity between the proposals came from the great differences existing in the legal and regulatory structures of both regions. Actions in Europe were constrained by factors ranging from the lack of collective lawsuits such as those in the United States to regulators who approved the repairs that turned out to be insufficient for their US counterparts.

Nevertheless, a Spanish judge forced the company to compensate the clients of that country. This did not happen without judicial disputes, though. In fact, Volkswagen’s legal representatives did not appear before a court hearing earlier this year in Madrid, which was seen as an immense scorn on the part of the German company, not only towards the Spanish authorities, but also to the clients who now have less appreciation for the Volkswagen brand and fueled hatred in the social media because of it. In Spain alone, there were more than six thousand five hundred affected. For this reason, the judges assured that this legal conflict would be solved by judicial decree and not by means of conciliations.

Recommended: Volkswagen’s Diesel Scandal Was 80 Years in the Making

In October of last year, a Spanish judge condemned this giant of the automotive industry to pay compensations. The judge forced Volkswagen Valladolid and Volkswagen Audi Spain to pay more than five thousand euros to an affected person who acquired an Audi Q5 model in 2013 for a price of fifty thousand euros in Valladolid. The owner of the vehicle demanded in the complaint that Volkswagen must deliver a vehicle of the same or higher quality, and, if not, that it must be repaired in order to compensate him for the damages suffered. This has already become a legal trend in Europe, particularly in Spain. Thousands of customers are furious, not only for the fraud committed by the Volkswagen group but for the refusal of this company to respond, unlike to the American customers.

This year another compensation was ordered. According to the ruling, Volkswagen-Audi Spain and a Salamanca dealer will have to compensate another customer for 10% of the price of their car. According to the ruling, the car brand has also been ordered to pay the costs of the legal process.

Image courtesy of BUND Bundesverband at Flickr.com

All this has forced this company to improve its image on the Internet. This year, the company president has announced the launch of a campaign together with other manufacturers in favor of diesel as a part of the solution to reduce the CO2 emissions worldwide. In the same way, Volkswagen has been repairing the damages of its bad reputation online by updating the software of 1.2, 1.6, and 2-liter diesel engines, so that they can comply with the emissions regulations. In the case of 1.6-liter engines, in addition to updating the software, VW has installed a current airflow transformer in front of the air mass sensor to direct the flow of air coming, and then improving the measurements.

This great challenge will take many years, taking into account the great crisis of online reputation that this company has gone through. The proper care of its digital image is the fundamental condition for millions of customers around the world to keep buying cars of this brand.

* Featured Image courtesy of Automobile Italia at Flickr.com

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Reconstructing a corporate Online Reputation

Reconstructing a corporate Online Reputation

We at ReputationDefender have previously stressed the importance of Online Reputation Management within specific industries; however, the truth is that every business and every organization—irrespective of whether it is public or private—ought to pay special attention to this issue, especially under today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing juncture. 

Of course, every industry handles its reputation differently, as techniques are often tailored to the industry’s nature, but, when considering today’s landscape as a whole, and given the fact that even governments fail to respond to the financial crisis and its aftermath, a company’s or a business’s online reputation has become increasingly important.

Companies with online reputation problems are more likely to suffer the fallout of public outrage, legislators, and regulatory entities. Moreover, the credibility of the public sector as a whole will mark its capability to participate in contentious measures such as protectionism, which, of course, has several implications for today’s worldwide economic landscape.

These premises have not gone unnoticed, and senior executives are more aware than ever of how important and serious this issue—this challenge—is. The vast majority of them acknowledge that some industries and sectors have perhaps dragged others into the realm of pejorative perceptions. It is not a secret that some companies in certain sectors—especially the financial industry—have treated consumers, shareholders, regulators, etc., in the most possible unfairly manner, and thus, this perception seems to have spanned over other industries as well.

This assumption, although eschatological and a bit exaggerated, is backed up with facts: in accordance with a survey of senior executives and C positions carried out in 2016, almost 80% of them asserted that public trust in their businesses has deteriorated. In fact, they also assert that the audience and their customers seem to trust corporations less now than they did in the past. These circumstances, nevertheless, are the consequences of not just the speed, volatility, and unexpectedness of today’s economy, but also of several changes within the reputation environment that were not acknowledged in time by companies and industries in general. Those changes include, of course, the evident decline of trust in media and advertising.

So, how to reconstruct a damaged online reputation and, moreover, regain the public’s trust? Now, more than ever before, it will be action-driven strategies the ones responsible for building a solid and strong reputation. 

Organizations and companies, in general, need to improve the way they have been carrying out their engagement with their clients; most businesses actually fail to listen good enough what is happening around them and end up missing the red flags associated with substantial ORM issues; however, all of these can be remedied by adopting and taking actions to reinstate their relationship with their customers, thusly going beyond traditional PR and basic ORM strategies.

By doing this effectively, companies and businesses, in general, will be able to step up their sophistication and their coordination when it comes to developing a solid and reliable online reputation management campaign. As of recent years, some businesses have started to use not only more strict levels of segmentation techniques to understand their customers better but also cross-functional teams to gather and collect enough and precise information so that they can respond much quicker to plausible online reputation threats. This suggests that the existence of barriers within companies is indeed detrimental for the business’s reputation: a bureaucratic culture prevents the organization to react and act against ORM issues; however, one vital aspect to getting past these corporate barriers is a committed senior leadership. From CEOs to the lady at the reception, all employees should strive to achieve the same ORM goal without delegating such responsibility to other people and coworkers. Bear in mind that this, although simple to understand, is what will allow companies cope with today’s no less than energized public. Today is the day when CEOs will finally bolster their reputations of their businesses: it is no less than their sole obligation.

Image courtesy of Miguel Á. Padriñán at Pexels.com

Free markets have dispersed the economic spectrum, which is why companies ought to pay special attention to the way they collect information about possible ORM threats and the way they analyze it. It is not a secret that the key to not falling victim of an ORM debacle is by acting soon before it happens and by taking the necessary actions to mitigate it. Some would still wonder, is it possible for companies to do that just by themselves? Well, developing alliances with new partners is not something nonsensical: governments, consumers, and other groups are highly important when it comes to listening to what is happening, which, of course, is the only way to develop preventive measures. It, however, demands higher levels of coordination. Levels that can be achieved by getting past corporate barriers and the dreary bureaucratic culture that prevents companies, organizations, institutions, and businesses from doing so.

* Featured Image courtesy of Unsplash at Pexels.com

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Online Reputation Management for countries: A matter of national interest

Online Reputation Management for countries: A matter of national interest

When we talk about online reputation management, we usually refer to individuals or companies, as well as other organizations, but people almost never talk about the online reputation of countries. However, what is said about the countries on the Internet is a fact (both the good and the bad things,) and it is actually so crucial that it may mean more or fewer amounts of tourists, foreign investments, exports, or international treaties (free trade, economic cooperation, visas exemptions, etc.) For this reason, one of the main tasks of governments, embassies, and other agents is to try to improve the image of the country they represent abroad.

There is even an international ranking, which is measured every year on the best and worst reputations of the most influential countries (at least those with the highest GDP in the world, 55 in total,) called Country Reptrak®, using an indicator that measures the esteem, confidence, admiration, and good impression that awakens a country in particular, which, in turn, serves as a means to analyze the problems or the successful processes of every country, which are reflected in those rankings, of course. This assessment and subsequent classification is based on the evaluation of 17 variables grouped in three basic aspects: Institutional quality, the level of development, and quality of life.

In this post, we will analyze three cases: Canada, Spain, and the United States.

Recommended: Which countries have the worst online reputation and why?

Image courtesy of Unsplash at Pexels.com

According to this year’s report, Canada again leads the ranking of the world’s best-reputed countries: It has 82.2 points, just in time to celebrate its 150th anniversary. This year, Canada remained at the top of the list thanks, especially, to the image that this nation has been building around the world during the recent months. It stood out as a safe country, an ethical country, with an effective government, and progressive social and economic policies. In all these categories, Canada had a good grade and registered an increase compared to the previous year.

Spain, a country that has experienced severe economic crises over the last decade, has also achieved strong accomplishments in this regard: It is now the Spanish-speaking country with the best online reputation. According to the report, Spain has won almost 4 points in 2017, according to the RepTrak report, which allows this south European country to ascend four positions, going from the 17th position in 2016 to the 13th in this year (which was, by the way, a hard achievement to reach, considering the economic history of Spain.) It is also the highest in the historical series of the report, with 74.6 Pulse points. In addition, this country surpasses in the ranking to countries that traditionally always have been ahead of Spain, like Italy (14th position), Germany (16th), United Kingdom (18th,) and even France (19th.)

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

This important increase in the reputation of Spain translates into an improvement of both the three dimensions evaluated as in all of the 17 considered variables, especially those related to aspects of our socio-economic and political-institutional reality. Thus, the two variables that registered a more favorable evolution in 2017 compared to 2016 are the perception of its economic environment (an increase of 3.9%) and the social welfare (an increase of 3.2%.) Likewise, some variables, such as the efficient use of resources, the political-institutional environment, and the active role on the international scenario show significant increases of 2.3%, 2.0%, and 1.5%, respectively. These were precisely some of the variables of the reputation of Spain that showed most deterioration during the years of the crisis, especially during the first half of the current decade. Even a variable as critical as safety, particularly at current times, improves its assessment by 1.4%.

When it comes to the United States, things do not look very good. The presidency of Donald Trump is having very serious consequences for the reputation of the country. The US is not only the country that loses the most reputation in percentage terms, but also in ranking positions, going from 27th in 2016 to 38th in 2017.

Read also: 3 ways the United States will boost its online reputation, by ReputationDefender

The United States is the country with the most lost reputation during the last year, (- 21.6%), social welfare (- 11.8%), ethical and transparent country (- 11%), responsible participant in the international community, (- 9.2%,) and efficient use of resources (- 5.8%) The Reputation Institute has observed a concentrated rejection towards the United States among the Mexicans. At the same time, however, the reputation of Mexico among the Americans extends the upward trend started in 2016, and the citizens of the Latin American nation are increasingly perceived as educated and reliable people, which makes Americans to visit and to invest in this country.

Sadly (or fortunately, it depends on the perspective from which one looks things here,) a country’s online reputation is necessarily linked to the political decisions of its government. But the evolution of the rankings of several countries is a surprising evidence that things can always change. Hopefully, our country will occupy great positions in the future.

* Featured Image courtesy of Unsplash at Pexels.com

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Bad press can happen to anyone: how to overcome a PR disaster

Bad press can happen to anyone: how to overcome a PR disaster

Irrespective of whether it is an industry, a business, an individual, etc., amidst today’s digital era everybody needs to manage their online reputation accordingly. We at ReputationDefender have previously addressed this important issue from various standpoints; we have shown how taxi unions lost hundreds of customers worldwide because of their poor ORM strategy; or how United Airlines evidenced a massive fall in the value of their stocks. Bad online reputation management often brings bad press, and, in light of such premise, no one is exempted from suffering an ORM crisis brought by the emergence of bad PR and bad press.

However, and even though falling victim of the aforementioned scenario is highly probable, there is also hope for dealing and, more importantly, overcoming such nagging and excruciating event. As of the emergence of the digital era, the Internet and the different social media platforms have gained tremendous importance. Thus, it is quite easy to come across companies and businesses in general struggling to protect their brands and their image against the myriad of possible pejorative eventualities that might end up being detrimental to them. Just recall previous events along with the ones mentioned at the beginning of this article where a company or a business face the dreary fallout of bad PR: in reality, all of them share something in common, and it is that it is quite hard to think clearly once the reputation has been compromised.

Nonetheless, regardless of the size and importance of the eventuality, there are several guidelines for mitigating the possible aftermath and the risk of everlasting damage:

Voice everything you have learned

Some companies have managed to make a positive name for themselves after being involved in not-so-friendly affairs in the court of public opinion. In fact, companies that have made a mistake in the past have regained their status after openly addressing the event it from time to time as a way of speaking about the things they learned. This sort of self-assessment allows companies to acknowledge their flaws and, sometimes, even their insecurities. And once this is shared with their customers and their target audience, they end up developing a solid connection. Because that is all that ORM is about: connecting with other people. By taking responsibility for every mistake, businesses and companies, in general, can actually create value and gain more customers and attention.

Act, do not react

One of the most important things that ought to be considered when addressing the vast spectrum of ORM, is to act first. And, in that sense, act instead of reacting. Most companies and the vast majority of individuals who outsource their ORM strategies often do so in hopes of remedying something (reaction to something pejorative and negative) bad that appears in the pages of Google results out of nowhere; however, and in accordance with what we have mentioned several times, the best time to focus on the scope of online reputation management is right before problems and challenges emerge.

Nevertheless, companies and people, in general, ignore the importance of their online track until it is too late: a negative review, a caustic forum thread or a terrible PR or press headline, all of them are the most common triggers for businesses to start minding their ORM. Of course it is possible to counteract and even fix the aftermath of these events; however, it can take months and, in some occasions, even years, thusly remaining open to suffering additional blows.

Image courtesy of Omkar Patyane at Pexels.com

Taking control of online reputation before issues start to arise is the most effective and cheapest way to manage the very first thing people and target audiences come across on the Internet. Think of it as a digital investment. This, of course, should be addressed as a digital strategy driven by proactivity: companies need to provide enough information in regard to their reputation in advance so that viewers get a better way to develop their own opinion about the business or the brand, or pretty much about anything worth taking care of.

In light of these facts, although some industries can tailor their ORM strategies to their needs and their target audiences, it is clear that in the thick of today’s digital juncture, everything requires some degree of online reputation management. Thus, the principle of making the first move, or acting instead of reacting applies irrespective of the nature of the business and the industry. ORM issues are no silent problems that fade away over time: they need to be fully addressed once they happen, but it has proven to be more effective to just act in advance and be prepared for whatever challenges might appear. That is how big companies have managed to make a successful comeback after suffering the consequences of their negligence.

* Featured Image courtesy of John Jackson at Pexels.com

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ORM for some of the most hated businessmen in the world

ORM for some of the most hated businessmen in the world

Jack Ma, the richest man in China, once said that if you have a million dollars in your bank account that money is indeed entirely yours, but if you have more than a billion dollars, what you actually have in your account is the trust of the people, because what you do with that money will inevitably have social impacts. Not all entrepreneurs think like Ma. In fact, some profess a diametrically opposed thinking, and the increasing of their fortunes grows with the hatred that millions of people feel towards them on the Internet. This makes them, in addition to politicians, some of the worst online reputed characters in the world since most people blame them for many of the ills of today’s global society.

Let’s look at some of these unpopular characters.

Read also: Online Reputation Management: A must for the powerful, by ReputationDefender

George Soros

George Soros is a Jewish-Hungarian tycoon and a financial speculator. He is known for being the man behind the bankruptcy of the Bank of England in the early 1990s, an episode of which Soros made a profit of about $ 1 billion and produced losses to the English state amounting to about $ 3.4 billion. Soros is one of the richest people in the world. His fortune is about $ 24.2 billion according to Forbes.

He is hated in the Jewish world because of his dark past with the Nazi regime. When he was only fourteen years old, and the Germans invaded Hungary, he and his family collaborated with them to strip the Jews of their properties and thus send them to extermination camps while he posed as an average Christian kid. However, Soros is hated for much more than that. In addition to speculation and his opinions about not extending the lives of ‘useless people,’ Soros finances thousands of NGOs willing to politically counter the interests of organizations, people, and parties opposed to his beliefs, like drug legalization, abortion and the reduction of human population.

The interesting thing is that George Soros is not moved by his bad online reputation whatsoever.

Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli is known around the world as one of the most hated men in the United States. This drugmaker of Albanian and Croatian origin has been the target of several criticisms after buying the exclusive license to manufacture an anti-AIDS drug. Shkreli decided to raise the price of the medication to $ 750, which is a price that thousands of people can’t afford. Such increase unleashed a tremendous wave of disgust in the social media which eventually made him explain to the US Congress itself about his decisions.

Shkreli was charged with fraud in 2015, and his trial has begun this very week. The charges against him are, in particular, securities fraud, electronic fraud, and conspiracy to deceive several investors by more than $ 11 million during six years.

However, this entrepreneur seems to feel no regret for his actions. Although he has agreed to lower the price of the medication, he often broadcasts videos from his YouTube channel where he mocks his haters and occasionally talks to them over the phone. In fact, he is so detested, that even he opened an auction so that the winner could punch him in the face. Ironically, the proceeds went to research for cancer treatments.

Edward S. Lampert

According to 24/7 Wall St., Mr. Lampert is the number one most detested CEO in America. In fact, a very low percentage of Kmart and Sears combined feel some form of admiration for him. The reason for such a bad online reputation? Massive layoffs and unpaid wages to many of his employees. Like many entrepreneurs, Lampert’s logic is based on the premise that it is necessary to reduce costs, even if this involves dismissing big numbers of workers. Nonetheless, he is not only hated by the workers of both large companies, but by the shareholders, who have almost no confidence in Lampert’s executive decisions, to the point that the stock price of both companies has had considerable losses during the recent years.

What most draws the attention is his income. In theory, Lampert earns one dollar every month, although the compensation he receives during each year amounts to millions of dollars in total.

From some of his interviews, it can be concluded that Lampert is not worried about his bad image on the Internet mainly because he considers that both his ideas and his actions are correct.

Image courtesy of ValueWalk at Flickr.com

It seems that the indifference to bad online reputation is a common denominator among the most hated entrepreneurs in the world. Great tycoons like the recently deceased David Rockefeller seem to rely more on their financial powers than on the approval of the masses. The problem is that no one knows when a good online reputation will be necessary. Years ago, when Donald Trump was a hated businessman, the online reputation needed to build a strong political campaign seemed not to be one of his priorities, and now his critics use his negative old information to feed the hatred of large sectors of the American society against him.

* Featured Image courtesy of International Monetary Fund – Michael Spilotro at Flickr.com

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3 ways the United States will boost its online reputation

3 ways the United States will boost its online reputation

You may or may not have heard, but there is a billionaire at the helm of the most powerful country in the world. Yes, Donald Trump is the president of the United States, and since his term began, things have been interesting, to say the least.  One constant of his presidency has been a scandal.  It seems that there hasn’t been one week where something outrageous doesn’t come out of the oval office or those on the president’s cabinet and advisory council.  As a result, Mr. Trump’s approval rating has steadily decreased, hitting numbers that we haven’t seen in quite some time.  Approval has even started to go down from his supporters, something that was hard to fathom a while back as Trump supporters have been quite adamant about their love and respect for the Donald and their belief that he will “Make America Great” as his campaign slogan proclaimed over and over again.  If that weren’t enough, the people close to him have started to hire lawyers as investigations have started to be conducted to get to the bottom of some suspicious actions coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Hence, America has started to believe less and less in the president and his group and their reputation has steadily taken a turn for the worse.

You cannot turn on the TV without someone criticizing or taking their turn to bash the Trump presidency (unless you’re Fox News, of course). The media is making sure the government is being held accountable for their actions.  From satire to investigative reporting, the majority of news outlets are trying to do their part to make sure the Powers that Be do not get away with things.  Even though the White House has tried to shun the opposing press out of the loop, it hasn’t deterred the opposition from doing their job.  Once again, this has led to brutal damage to the reputation of those in the White House, especially online.

That’s right; the internet has gone full troll to bash the president and his entourage.  No target is safe at the moment, and the sheer viciousness of the commentary is something we have never seen before.  The government desperately needs to come to the realization that they are in dire need of an online reputation management strategy if they hope to finish the term with some shred of respectability. ReputationDefender would like to give its take on how Donald and his crew can help improve their online reputation.  Is it a daunting task? You bet!  Is it impossible?  Nothing is impossible.  With that said, here are the recommendations.

Stop belittling the press

Fake news has become the go-to defense mechanism for the White House for some time now.  Whenever the opposing press has something negative or challenging to say about the government, Donald Trump and his group immediately claim that the news is made up and that there is no evidence to support their claims.  However, the media has gone out of its way to show once and again that there is evidence and that they should be taken seriously and with respect.  Until the government starts treating the press with the respect it deserves, chances are the media will not stop criticizing and doing whatever they can to make the American public believe the government is truly incompetent and a laughing stock.

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

Start acting like adults

The tone the White House uses to defend itself screams “I’m rubber and you’re glue.  Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!”  The POTUS (President of the United States), the cabinet, and advisors need to stop playing the victim and start dealing with the accusations that they are being faced with on a daily basis.  They must give the American people valid arguments and stop talking about the Democrats and their wrongdoings to draw attention away.  Silence and attacks on others are usually taken as signs of guilt. Furthermore, by acting childish, the government is going to lose even more respect and that which you do not respect, you have no problem bashing it.

For crying out loud, get the president off Twitter!

Donald Trump has become famous for his late-night Twitter rants.  They are by far the most damaging to the White House’s online reputation.  Trump’s tweets have been the subject of jokes, analysis, and even a library just around the corner of Trump Tower in New York.   One of the capital sins of reputation management is to post something controversial online.  The president repeatedly makes this mistake and it is costing him and his group a whole lot of trouble and causing their online reputation way too much damage than they can handle on a daily basis.  Whatever we say online will come back to haunt us eventually and denying you ever said something when there is clear proof of the contrary is a direct hit on credibility.

If the president of the United States and his crew want to get their reputation to decent levels, they better start shaping up and playing nice.

* Featured Image courtesy of Aaron Kittredge at Pexels.com

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The Volkswagen Online Reputation Challenge Just Begins

The Volkswagen Online Reputation Challenge Just Begins

The Volkswagen 2015 scandal is one of its main sources of bad online reputation. Even though the legal storm that this major car company has been through has already ceased, the reputation crisis continues, and many of its users – especially in Germany – have stopped buying Volkswagen cars as a boycott.

In this post, we will analyze the case of the Volkswagen gas emissions scandal: An excellent example that demonstrates the need to invest in online reputation management after having solved the eventual legal situations that an individual or an organization has been going through.

This industrial scandal (best known as the ‘Diesel Gate’,) implied the use of various techniques for the fraudulent reduction of pollutant emissions (NOx and CO2) by the Volkswagen Group from some of its diesel and petrol engines during 2009-2015 in the certification tests. According to the VW Group, more than 11 million vehicles of its brands, including Škoda, Seat, Audi, and Porsche are affected by this throughout the world. The case, unparalleled in the automotive history, was revealed in September 2015 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and resulted in the resignation of Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Volkswagen board.

It really started at the beginning of 2014, while the International Council on Clean Transportation launched a study on pollution in driving conditions in twelve European diesel cars. It decided to add three European vehicles sold in the United States, convinced that these vehicles would behave well. The fifteen vehicles did not all make the same journeys, many of which only carried out the only reference route (which was secret, of course.) Some of the analyzed cars made a maximum of 25 quite long journeys of nearly 2485 miles between Los Angeles and Seattle (to and from the airport.)

The tests were carried out using a Portable Emission Measurement System, commonly known as PEMS, which is the conventional system to measure the CO2 of vehicles. This equipment is located partly in the trunk and partly outside the vehicle. For some tests, it incorporates one or even two electric generators and fuel.

Read also: 5 industries that have the most to gain from online reputation, by ReputationDefender

The tests showed that all vehicles behave on average in terms of CO2, HC, and other particulate pollution, and, in the case of NOx, three vehicles performed worse than the others. When the report was published, these vehicles were designated by the letters F, H and L, which, in fact, turned out to be the VW Jetta that, on average, for all routes combined, emitted 22.6 times more NOx than the threshold Euro 6 on the NEDC bench. The VW Passat emitted on average 11.4 times more than the threshold Euro 6. The last VW vehicle, designated in the report as a European luxury vehicle, emitted 22.3 times than the threshold Euro 6.

So, in September 2015, the authorities confirmed to the manufacturer that its practices violated the Clean Air Act25. The scandal went viral on the mainstream media and, of course, on the social media, and environmentalists got really angry (especially those who owned a Volkswagen.) And what about the subsequent economic consequences? Well, between the 19th and 22nd of September 2015, the share price of the Volkswagen group fell by almost 40% on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Moreover, the entire European automotive sector suffered heavy losses in the days following the breakup of the case.

Image courtesy of www.GlynLowe.com at Flickr.com

The group quickly announced the suspension of its commercialization in the United States of the Volkswagen and Audi four-cylinder diesel models (about a 23% of the whole sales of the Volkswagen brand in August in the United States.)

Recommended: VW emissions scandal widens with Audi allegations

Nevertheless, this automotive giant has already put in place a strategy to reduce its reputational damage. It has restructured all its leadership, has started to pay millionaire fines, and has done everything as possible to regain the confidence of the German government, its clients, and employees of all the factories around the world. In fact, the company contributed $ 6.4 billion for repairs last year as compensation to customers and sanctions. In the end, thanks to the 4,400 million provisioned in the fourth quarter, the total impact of the Diesel Gate has actually risen to 22,600. For this reason, it can be affirmed that Volkswagen has recovered its revenues in a forceful way and that its economic slowdown is already closed.

But what’s Next? Here begins the great challenge regarding online reputation, and, by the way, this company must invest millions in reputational marketing campaigns in order to clean up its image globally. It is not impossible, but it will certainly be a huge job.

All companies make mistakes at some point, and emblematic companies, with a long history like this one, have already gone through hundreds of such situations. However, no one should never underestimate the destructive power of an online reputation crisis when it comes to the image of a company, especially considering that the bad reputation remains unaffected by the passage of time in the memorable digital world.

A case full of lessons, indeed.

* Featured Image courtesy of freshwater2006 at Flickr.com

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3 ways celebrities can avoid an attack from the media

3 ways celebrities can avoid an attack from the media

There are many ways for online reputation to be manipulated or affected.  In previous posts, ReputationDefender has written about some of the mistakes that should be avoided if you want to protect your online reputation.  In today’s digital age where everyone goes online to comment on anything and everything, it’s relatively easy for anyone to have a direct impact on how the public views you online. 

This fact is especially true if you are a person with celebrity status or clearly in the public eye.  Actors, athletes, artists, and politicians are just some of the most common occupations which have to deal with negative and vicious comments on a daily basis.  For the most part, the negativity comes from the average Joe or Jane and people in the limelight can normally handle it without a hitch.  As a matter of fact, it’s quite common for those types of comments to be ignored, it’s part of the job.  But, what happens when the negativity comes from the media?  It’s a whole different story.

All news media has the power to influence how a recognized person is perceived.  So much so that the media has shown to have a direct influence on how people vote when election season rolls around.  It’s no secret that there are several news corporations which are biased and where there is clearly no objectivity.  It’s also quite clear that they know their viewers, followers, or readers will base their own opinions on what the organization tells them.  Whenever someone famous has a scandal on their hands, you can bet that the media will be quick to have an opinion.  So, how can those who are constantly being scrutinized by the media make sure that their reputation doesn’t suffer?

1 . Take preventive measures through you own behavior

A celebrity wouldn’t be criticized or their online reputation wouldn’t be in danger if they didn’t give the media any reason to target them. They must make sure that their behavior on and offline is top notch and to the highest standards.  What this means is that they must avoid giving controversial sound bites during interviews and public displays of anger, drunkenness, or intolerance (the typical fodder for haters and detractors).  Here’s where some would claim, “But celebrities are people, too, and they are prone to make human mistakes.”  True, but their recognition comes with a responsibility to be role models to millions of people so it would be wise for them to be on their best behavior.  Otherwise, media outlets will surely write articles and record sound bites that will try to tarnish the person’s reputation so that others do not follow their example.

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

2. Understand that they are a huge target on the cloud

The cloud revolution created more virtual space for society to save their information without having to sacrifice phone or computer memory.  We have become confident that the information we put up on the cloud is safeguarded from prying eyes, and celebrities are not the exception.  However, there are those out there who live to obtain sensitive information and share it with the world.  Famous people have the biggest target on their backs and over the last couple of years, there have been uncountable stories of incriminating photos or videos which have been leaked to the media in order to show that celebrities are not as holy as some deem themselves to be.

And if it’s not a hacker, the recipient of the controversial content could easily leak it.  In order to avoid being hacked or having private information and images shared to the media, celebrities should either avoid doing those actions altogether, have the other person sign a confidentiality agreement, or not save the information on the Cloud where hackers are definitely going to try to obtain anything they can give the media so that they can tarnish the celebrity’s reputation.

3 . Face the detractors and negativity

As we said before, celebrities are humans as well, and they are likely to make mistakes every once in awhile.  When tragedy does strike, celebrities should fess up and recognize that they made a mistake.  Those who have gone on to admit their errors, normally haven’t had their reputation suffer and they bounce back relatively fast.  The opposite has happened to those who refuse to concede any wrongdoing.  The media can’t do that much damage once you recognize your own faults.  Not doing so would give the media numerous angles from which to attack you and your reputation.

The media is a major player in shaping people’s perceptions and reputation of a celebrity.  However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.  The more aware that a celebrity is of how the media can use one’s actions against you, the better chances they have of ensuring they don’t give the media anything to talk about and the higher the chances of protecting one’s online reputation.   

* Featured Image courtesy of Martin Foskett at Pexels.com

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