Reputation management has become somewhat of a dirty word. When you hear a marketer talking about the subject, it usually surrounds a client that has a ton of negative information about them online. Since its inception, this has largely been the case. However, good marketers know that reputation management should start before a client has anything they want to suppress.
After all, keeping their reputation protected is easier than trying to clean it up after the fact.
Reputation management techniques vary depending on the type of content you want to suppress. Sometimes it is better to build websites to push content off the first page of Google. Sometimes it is better to publish press releases or hound journalists to write positive stories. Still other times, legal action may seem like the best and only option.
What is great about online reputation management for those not looking to suppress anything negative is that all methods used by the industry are available to them. Here are three ways that anyone, even those with great reputations, can use reputation management techniques for their benefit.
- Using reputation management for branding:
The purpose of branding is to basically burn the image of your company into people’s minds. Branding is a method of marketing that will likely pay off in the long run if done correctly. Examples of great branding include McDonald’s and their golden arches. Even the colors of their signs are branded in my mind. When I see a sign for In-N-Out Burger, the colors immediately make my mind shift to McDonald’s.
Now, branding should be more than just presenting your company. You want to present it in the best possible way so that people associate you with trust and quality. This is where reputation management efforts come into play. Sending out press releases with information about your charity work or implementing safety procedures for employees can go a long way. If you don’t believe me, ask Ben and Jerry’s.
For years, the ice cream maker was known for its positive workplace environment and they let everyone know about it. The way they treated employees went a long way in their branding efforts as people see the ice cream in the store and immediately remember all the press about how “good” they are to employees. When information such as dairy workers boycotting the company make the press, the reports get shrugged off quickly due to managing their reputation up front before things like that hit the press. Bravo, Ben and Jerry’s.
Getting your name out there associated with positive press is likely to keep negative press away.
- Getting rid of the past:
Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now (I couldn’t wait to work that into an article somewhere). From the band that continuously kicked out my favorite singer, Suite Judy Blue Eyes gives us a great quote about reputation management. At one point in our lives, we were something different than we are now. I am now a freelance writer and market myself as such. However, I am also a former police officer. It was important for me to get my name out there as a writer in order to showcase my current career and not focus on accomplishments in my prior profession.
This can be true for companies that have rebranded or people who are now in different positions. After all, if you are now the CEO of a company, you don’t really want to see old press about when you were a junior salesperson for the same company.
Reputation management can help keep information about you and your company up to date in the press as well as quash content that contains outdated or inaccurate information.
- Monitoring your reputation:
This is a must for everyone. If you do not have negative information about you online, then you need to make sure that you know if (or when) there is such information posted. Setting up Google alerts is a great way to do this. However, you need to monitor all aspects of your reputation online including with social media and review websites.
The sooner you know what people are saying about you online, the quicker you will be able to react to such information.