Who do you think you are? And who does everyone else think you are?
In Robert W Chambers’ classic collection The King In Yellow, the Repairer of Reputations is a man whose skill lies in mending the public perception of people who have somehow transgressed the social order, with tragic consequences.
Sharing and communicating
In the modern world, reputation management is every bit as important as it was in Chambers’ story, it’s a far less arcane practice in real life, the consequences of neglecting can be severely damaging to a business. However, the benefits, when it is handled correctly, can deliver fantastic results. At its most basic level, online reputation management is a combination of sharing/communicating consistent messages whilst monitoring and responding to noise about your organisation.
A large business in the public eye, for example, may pay a press monitoring agency to sift through the day’s news and collate all references to that business, enabling them to see how they are perceived by the media and therefore also by the public.
A large restaurant chain with a reputation of being damaging to the environment can take steps to address this, perhaps by launching a new pledge or initiative to promote their environmental consideration and help combat their poor reputation.
A company looking to sell or float will work hard to promote and manage their reputation and the content produced by them/for them. Establishing an organisation as profitable, successful and interesting is key to driving a sale.
At a deeper level online reputation management concerns itself with the amount of attention a company receives from its target audience. All the popular search engines such as Google operate according to a complex set of algorithms which determine how high up in the search results any individual page or site will be, meaning reputation management depends on gaming the system to ensure that your company has high online visibility. In the early days of the internet, users would stuff their home pages with irrelevant references to popular TV shows or bands in order to attract more hits. Search engines got wise to this and realised it was making their platforms useless, so have been constantly developing and adapting algorithms to keep systems working properly, with more genuine content.
It is worth noting that online reputation management is not about cheating the system as such; it’s about understanding how the system works and turning it to one’s advantage.
Search engines can be one of the most powerful allies a business can have, and public perception is what will ultimately determine the uptake of your goods or services. So vague and intangible as it may seem, allowing a budget for reputation management will always be money well spent.
We help both high profile individuals and businesses with their online reputation. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
As we take a huge sigh of relief and press GO on the latest issue of one of the publications I contribute to, I reflect on what great content actually is.
When I started my career 15+ years ago (in what was then customer communications agency Redwood Publishing) branded content only existed for a crazy yet innovative few.
Volvo Magazine, was a Global CRM publication produced to engage and inspire recent Volvo purchasers. I worked in quite a few roles on the team from Editorial Assistant to Promotions to Advertising, I got to know the publishing process whilst also understanding the client’s business strategy, motivations and objectives. The Scandinavian team at Volvo’s Head Office understood, valued and believed in the power their magazine and the content within it delivered in order to maintain retention and loyalty amongst their global customer base.
What resonates so much with me today is remembering sitting in Media Buying Agencies presenting the magazine to the planner/buyer types who looked down their noses and 99 times out of 100 said,
“free magazines don’t work, there’s no value in this type of publication”
WRONG. SO SO SO Wrong.
Volvo Magazine worked, it worked on a global scale. It helped change perceptions and supported the evolution of the brand from a boxy, safe and unsexy automobile to the exceptionally attractive Scandinavian cool premium brand it is today.
Good, decent quality content that is well thought out, relevant and presented properly is invaluable. Since working as a consultant with businesses of all sizes it’ makes my stomach turn to hear business owners saying, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, we just need to get something out there” or “we’ll just whack something together last minute”.
This is REALLY saddening. It’s so important if you believe you have a decent offering, service or product, to ensure the quality of communication from your brand is very decent too. Content on the internet, emailed into someone’s mailbox or posted to someone lasts, it doesn’t have a short shelf life, it will always exist, in some cases even when it’s deleted it can still be found. If content is worth doing it’s worth doing properly and making sure it works, reflects the business, aspirations and the brand properly.
If I’ve learnt anything from my time in content it’s that it won’t always be 100% perfect but you should ALWAYS aim for it to be, by working with the best and not scrimping on costs!
For help with branded content and communications please contact email@example.com
The digital marketplace is much like any other, except that it’s a lot bigger and a lot busier. Real estate isn’t a problem, so more stalls are being set up every day, and it becomes increasingly hard to attract the attention of customers amid all the bustle and distraction. Which is why creating a strong online brand identity is key to any digital marketing strategy.
To continue with the bricks and mortar analogy, your website is the equivalent of your shop front- it should be a shopfront that will make people want to go inside. It should consistently represent the values and aesthetic of your business so you present a strong brand identity. Nobody should be in any doubt who they’re dealing with, or why you’re the best at what you do.
And like any other business, good customer service is vital. No matter how much amazing advertising you may do, in the modern world of instant reviews your customers have more power than ever to make or break an enterprise. If they go away happy, not only will they tell their friends, they may very well tell the Internet, and in the process thousands of others they don’t even know. If they go away unhappy… well, you can figure that out yourself. Just make sure they don’t!
Then you have to decide where to put your shop-front. Not literally, of course, but where it will sit in relation to other businesses. This is a dynamic process, as the digital marketplace is always changing, but can be accomplised by building associations between brands and subjects. In the same way that Amazon will offer you recommendations based on what you’ve previously bought, you need to watch what your customers are interested in and market yourself accordingly. This can be as simple as using hashtags on Twitter to piggy-back on relevant trending topics, or as complicated as conducting full-scale market research. Once you know what your customers are looking for and where they’re likely to be looking, you can place yourself so that they will either seek you out or stumble across you, see your beautiful storefront, and pop in for a browse!