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.
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