That’s why you need to take an ethical, proactive approach to managing your reputation online and off. Don’t fall for the shady quick-fix solutions offered by many online reputation management (ORM) firms. Those can easily backfire.
Instead, let us help you build a reputation that will endure for the long haul -- through organizational change, unexpected crises, fast-spreading social media rumors and full-on cancellation attempts.
The best defense for your brand’s reputation is a good offense, and that means articulating a clearly defined social purpose and CSR strategy. We can help.
Planning for crises means whiteboarding all the negative brand scenarios you can imagine—and then preparing for each one.
In today’s 24-hour information cycle, responding to complaints, bad reviews, crises and conspiracy theories requires both grit and tact. We provide them.
While some online reputation management (ORM) practitioners have high ethical standards, many work in a way that is inconsistent with the PRSA’s Code of Ethics — and ultimately risky for their clients’ reputations as well. Similar to black-hat SEO firms, they offer a “quick fix” rather than doing the harder work of getting to the root of a reputation problem.
Some examples of these questionable practices include:
Idea Grove brings a different mindset to online reputation. We take the longer view. The right way to improve a reputation includes:
Taking this more strategic view doesn’t mean you can’t address issues quickly. For example, let's take a look a reputation management challenge our agency took on recently:
We had a client—a global midmarket company—that had a long history of a positive reputation, but that had been acquired two years earlier, leading to many changes in leadership, organizational structure and product strategy in a short time. This led to dozens of negative Glassdoor reviews and a three-star rating — a big turnoff not only to prospective employees, but also potential clients.
Even with swift changes to improve employee morale and an active internal NPS program, it can take months to improve a poor Glassdoor rating. The client understandably wanted the public to know about the changes it had made, and the happy employees it had earned, sooner than that.
So we recommended that they set up authentic profiles, with authentic reviews, on alternative employer review sites. These sites are not as well known as Glassdoor, but by establishing a presence on them, the client could draw those reviews to the first page of the client’s branded search results. This would provide a more well-rounded view of the company.
Reputation management has undergone some big changes over the last century — and in all likelihood, those changes will continue. Should you choose an agency to help you navigate this evolving landscape, be sure to choose one that adheres to ethical standards of conduct, such as PRSA’s Code of Ethics. It’s the right thing to do, and will achieve more lasting results over time.
Absolutely. Businesses of all sizes today can find themselves in the social media crosshairs for past mistakes, offhand remarks, political statements and more.
Conspiracy theories, in particular, are more frequent, spread more widely, and stamped out less easily than ever before – posing a serious threat not only to individual businesses, but to our democratic society as a whole. Those who successfully spread conspiracy theories earn the “social currency” of status and popularity on social media, while rarely being held to account for their damaging claims legally or financially.
The rise of online shaming and conspiracies means that brands must be proactive in both preparing for and responding to these kinds of crises.
Many B2B brands have thought that since their buyers make purchasing decisions based on value, it’s unnecessary to have a social purpose, and safer to stay clear of social issues. Each year, and especially after the events of 2020, this idea is proving to be outdated and even harmful to brands’ growth. B2B purchasers expect the companies they partner with to not only provide excellent products and customer service but also want those companies to behave as responsible “corporate citizens” and take action to make the world a better place.
In the past several years, many well-known tech companies have come under fire for being disconnected from or indifferent to social concerns. One example of a company that has mostly avoided the soulless tech giant stigma is Salesforce, which has been forward-looking in getting involved with social causes. While the company has not entirely escaped criticism, under the direction of CEO Marc Benioff, Salesforce has taken strong positions on many social issues, and the company has donated millions of dollars in an attempt to alleviate homelessness in its home city of San Francisco. Further showing that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not only something they do for the public but is intrinsic to their internal operations, the company spent $8.7 million redressing the gender pay gap they found within their own workforce.
While some B2B brands are starting to view purpose as important to their growth, many companies are unsure how to embed their stated purpose into all aspects of the business operations. To build brand trust, both with customers and with employees, your brand purpose must be relevant to your company and customer base.
As an example, in 2018, the Dropbox founders and the company launched Dropbox Foundation, which focuses on partnering with nonprofits to promote human rights. As a file-sharing service that makes it possible for millions of users to easily share information and accomplish work from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection, supporting organizations that use information to defend human rights fits their brand and product.
In our connected world, B2B brands cannot afford to remain silent on social issues; the time for fence-sitting is over. While many of your purpose-driven B2B marketing efforts will look a bit different from B2C campaigns, the core principles are the same. Embracing purpose helps to unify your employees, customers and the communities you serve, giving your brand an edge over those who appear to only care about short-term profits.
Embracing purpose and working to benefit the world can give B2B brands a competitive edge. For B2B companies, the advantages of having a social purpose include:
Think of reputation management as PR playing defense, such as when:
In a world where anyone can find out a wealth of information about your brand with a single Google search, managing your reputation is more critical than ever. That controversial Facebook post they dug up from when your newly hired CEO was in college? That dodgy character that invested in your company? That media misquote that took on a life of its own? Careers and businesses have been ruined over less.
When reputation issues flare from a low smoulder to a five-alarm fire, that’s a form of reputation management known as crisis communications. We have worked crises ranging from workplace shootings to sex scandals and more, and the stakes are never higher when it comes to a brand preserving trust.
They are two sides of the same coin. To illustrate by way of example:
Our third-party validation solution identifies the most important review sites for your brand and helps you attract more positive reviews. Our reputation management solution focuses on anticipating and responding to negative reviews and social media criticism.
Our third-party validation solution focuses on securing positive media coverage for your company and products. Our reputation management solution focuses on responding to and blunting the impact of negative media attention in the event of a crisis.
For many of our clients, our third-party validation solution is the core of their PR program —but they are comforted that we can step in and help with reputation issues if and when they come along.
Idea Grove recently compiled a list of 38 tips for reputation management in today's post-truth, cancel-culture world that dives into specific strategies and tactics. At a high level, it's important to understand that the reputation management playing field has increasingly become a minefield, and requires not only 24/7 monitoring and response, but a proactive communications strategy that reduces the risk of reputation challenges ever occurring.