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