April 24th 2014 saw a host of industry experts take to the stage as part of Newcastle’s Brand Aid seminar. Hosted by Brewin Dolphin, the theme of the event was brand management, with particular attention paid to the importance of maintaining a brand’s reputation.
Joining speakers from Square One Law, Recognition PR and Healthcare Management Solutions, I attended on behalf of Mediaworks to discuss online reputation management (ORM). For those of you who weren’t able to make it or are simply looking for a quick refresh, this post includes a few of the key points made.
What is ORM and why does it matter?
Maintaining a good reputation has always been a priority for a brand. As the digital sector continues to grow, it has become even easier for us to share opinions about the products we buy and the services with receive. When positive, this can be crucial for growing a brand’s social standing. However, when these posts are negative, they can be incredibly detrimental.
That’s where ORM comes into play. Allowing brands to regain control of how they are perceived online, ORM involves detecting and reacting to threats through cleverly promoting the brand’s positives over their negatives. While it may not be possible to completely eradicate damaging content, it is possible to push the posts into no man’s land: out of the first page of Google’s SERPS.
How it works
ORM is a multi-stranded process. On a basic level, it involves ensuring corporate responsibility throughout the company. This means making sure that all staff members understand how they are expected to behave both on- and offline, in order to avoid any unbecoming stories hitting the headlines.
If such a story does occur, as so many of them do, ORM works to minimise the damage caused, helping to retain a brand’s reputation. This is done by making full use of the company’s website, social media platforms and PR teams, as well as brand advocates, in order to promote it in a more positive light.
Ongoing monitoring is crucial to not only finding out how your brand is regarded, but predicting what the future could hold. There are a number of tools that allow for this effective management, such as Klout.
Prevention or the cure?
Unfortunately, too many brands make use of ORM when the damage has already been done. Rather than making it a reactive solution, ORM should be thought of as a preventative method that can protect the company from a fall from grace.
Working much in the same way as PR, planning positive press releases and content in advance of a negative event occurring will allow the brand’s reputation to recover more quickly. This often proves a much more cost-effective and manageable solution in the event of a crisis.
If you want to find out more about how ORM can work for your brand, get in touch today. Sign up to our newsletter for updates on this topic and follow us on Twitter to find out about our other events.