It's no secret that a company's reputation is worth a significant amount. Damage to public image can have serious implications on an organisation's bottom line, so it is crucial to have reputation management strategies in place.
If your business has experienced the effects of negative media coverage, and you are struggling to repair your reputation, there are many potential areas where you could be going wrong. To help get you back on the right track, here are the seven reputation management sins that could prove deadly to your business.
If a customer posts a negative review or complaint online, what is your first response? Do you instantly go on the defensive or simply ignore the problem until it hopefully goes away?
Not saying you're sorry could be the biggest mistake you make when protecting your reputation. Don't be afraid to admit to a fault and offer genuine assistance to those affected. In fact, a heartfelt apology could be all the customer wants and reaching out to admit that your company messed up is often enough to turn the experience around.
Are you jealous of how your competitors are being talked about in the media? Be careful about responding in spite and attacking their reputations to improve your own. Even if posting under the cover of an anonymous blog or social media profile, the backlash that would occur if your identity was revealed would be significant.
Does your media strategy leave you needing to be everywhere at once? Sending out tweets, responding to reviews and booking yourself in for a chat on a talk-back radio segment is great if you have the hours and the patience to be articulate and brand-aware the entire time.
However, be careful not to stretch yourself and your resources too thin. Be prepared to let things slide - just make sure you have effective measurements in place to accurately determine which channels you can choose to put aside for an hour, a day or forever.
Any business stakeholder will covet a positive reputation, but trying to artificially create that branding is likely to lead to issues.
Countering negative reviews and news with fake coverage will damage your reputation even more if the truth were to come out. By doing this, you risk losing the trust of your customers and setting yourself up as a false company.
Perhaps the worst thing you can be doing is not actually doing anything. You need to be tracking your brand name on media and be ready to respond if anything comes up. Media monitoring solutions can help make this process easier, so there really is no excuse for being on board.
When you notice inaccurate or negative news or reviews about your company, avoid responding with anger. Don't let these things get under your skin and never, ever get into petty arguments on a public forum.
This will always do more harm than good, so try keeping a level head whenever possible and stepping away from the problem if you feel your blood boiling.
While it is valuable, your reputation is not all about money. Sure, having a positive public image is good for business, but treating your clients as dollar signs is unlikely to have a great impact.
Instead, take some time to engage with those markets that may not yet be valuable to you, or even those once-loyal customers who have stepped out the door. By taking the time to respond to all influencers, you can increase brand awareness, even if sales are climbing.
By keeping these seven deadly sins in mind, you can effectively avoid the pitfalls that may damage your reputation even further after negative news and reviews are posted.