Reputation management started out as a public relations concept but its scope has been expanded beyond that with the expansion of social media usage and the internet. The reputation management process hangs on the fact that organizations and brands need to operate with due consideration of the impression that members of the public have about them.
Identifying, modifying and managing the thoughts and impressions of potential and actual customers of a business is vital to its success and drive towards profitability and sustainability. Regardless of how well designed and effective a company’s products are, they’ll only be successful in the market when the consumers think that they are actually effective.
Brand reputation is built gradually from interactions with customers and members of the public through comments, discussions, press releases and reviews left on products on forums and websites. In light of this, it is imperative for brands to stay on top by ensuring the information related to products and services that can be found online are favorable to the brand.
Reputation management requires close monitoring of what is said about brand products and services. Influencing, managing, and controlling comments and complaints are some of the elements of reputation management. Reputation management exists in two forms: offline and online reputation management.
Brand’s Reputation Processes
Managing a brand or individual’s reputation is a continuous process. The requirements and processes vary but the following are some general elements of managing a brand’s reputation
Observation and Monitoring
This is a crucial element of reputation management and it sets the stage for every other activity involved in reputation management. To effectively stay on top and modify brand reputation, the impressions and views of customers must first of all be monitored. Before reacting, listening has to come first. By knowing what people feel about a brand, its management and products, modifying and correcting views becomes easier.
Create an Appropriate Response
It is important to monitor and gauge brand perception but doing this alone is not sufficient. Once the thoughts and perceptions have been monitored, a response plan becomes the next line of action. If interactions with customers are online then there has to be an individual or team that observes comments, reviews and determines the comments that need to be responded to.
Polite and Professional Response
Negative reviews and comments are bound to pop up every now and then. The onus then lies on the brand to handle them professionally and delicately. Sentiments must be eliminated completely when dealing with this kind of comments, and customers need to know that their complaints have been listened to by brand representatives, and that a solution is around the corner.
Not all comments are negative however, and the positive reviews and comments deserve a response just as much. Responding to positive comments is a lot simpler; an expression of gratitude to the customer suffices.
A lot of human interaction happens on the internet and social media these days. The effect of this is that brands must have an active online presence to actively engage customers. A brand’s online presence has to be managed in order to measure results of engagements as this goes a long way in the management and molding of an organization’s reputation.