Online, your brand’s reputation takes on an entirely new life. One wrong or false complaint, or even an altered online review can completely change public sentiment toward a brand overnight. That’s why companies work with reputation management experts, or RMEs.
Contrary to popular belief, brand reputation management companies don’t try to “sweep bad reviews under the rug” or otherwise erase negative reviews. If someone has had a poor experience with a company, and it’s genuine, that’s something that the company needs to step back and look at as part of the overall customer experience and how they can improve upon it.
With that being said, the keyword there is genuine. Oftentimes, reviews, comments, and discussions about a company can become particularly heated, and competitors who are desperate will try a slew of unethical and dirty tricks to get ahead. It’s the nature of some of the most competitive industries and the sites that review them — particularly in terms of the service, real estate, local businesses and healthcare industries.
Knowing what I know now about brand management and reputation, looking back, I wish that someone would’ve told me:
Not All Reputation Management Companies Abide By the Same Code of Ethics
Some brand and reputation management companies will charge you huge sums of money to scrub away that bad review and remove all traces of it from the internet. But just like a hydra, if you cut off one head, three more can take its place. Do you really want to scramble around removing every bad review that exists out there? If you show a spotless reputation to your customers, will they believe it? Not likely.
That’s why it’s important to work with a brand reputation management company that understands the many different facets that reputation management can encompass, and can formulate a strategy that aligns with your business goals and vision, as well as your brand so that you can move forward with confidence.
A Bad Review Will Impact Your Google Search Ranking
Many people don’t know this, but these days, Google is sophisticated enough to “read” reviews from third party sites, as well as its own Google Reviews left by users and use that as part of its algorithm that determines your search engine ranking. This is not to say that every good review will raise your ranking, and every poor one will drop it, but they do play a role.
That’s why it’s often not enough just to try and “erase” a bad review. Search engines have already taken it into account in factoring your ranking. Depending on the severity of the reputation smear, you may need a reputation professional to help with damage control and to contain the proverbial fires, but by concentrating on delivering a good customer experience overall (and reminding happy customers to leave a review), you’ll greatly increase your chances of ranking better over time.
Your Brand is More Than Your Social Media Profile
Oftentimes, companies think that if their social media profile is spotless, they have nothing to worry about, reputation-wise. Nothing could be farther from the truth! In fact, if your social media profile is flawless, but reviews on other third party sites paint a very different picture, it’s clear which ones customers will focus on.
That’s why it’s so important to take a holistic view of brand reputation. It’s not just about your reputation on Facebook or other social media outlets. It’s about the company and the brand as a whole. And customers (and prospective customers) can and will check reviews and ratings from many different places. Make sure that your brand’s reputation is strong enough to weather the storm on multiple fronts.
Your Brand Must Be Unique, but More than That, It Must Be Authentic
Perhaps the most important aspect of brand and reputation management has little to do with reputation at all. In fact, one of the biggest challenges that brands face today is developing their own unique and authentic voice. Many brands publish content, be it a blog post, a podcast or video, and strip away their authentic voice on account of fearing that customers won’t like it.
But the truth is, customers are looking for and craving that authenticity from brands. You won’t alienate customers by being authentic — if anything, you’ll be more in tune with the people you really want to reach — your best customers, and you’ll be creating a lasting impression that’s hard for any negative review to break.
Brand and Reputation Management are Like a Chess Game – What’s Your Next Move?
Knowing all of the things I know now about brand management has completely changed the way I go about working with companies. From large enterprises to small mom and pop shops, people are looking to brands more than ever — brands that are real and strive for honest, clear customer interactions. Whether your company has had a few missteps you’d like to correct, or you need some help putting out negative fires before they overwhelm you, reach out to our brand management specialists today.
We’ll take the time to get to know your unique situation and formulate a plan that can help you not only make your next move, but continue to anticipate and handle common reputation issues that can seemingly pull the proverbial rug out from under you. Don’t be caught unaware or wait until it’s too late. Send Workdom a message today to learn more!