“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
It takes a lot of time and a number of sleepless nights to build a strong brand image. And all it takes is one dissatisfied and disgruntled customer voicing his/her negative opinion to stain a carefully nurtured image. In this day and age of real-time social media, it is essential to timely address any negative press, and this is where reputation management comes into play.
Nowadays, most of the action takes place online. More and more customers are opting to voice their opinions, both positive and negative, through tweets, comments and blogs. With 61% of shoppers researching products online, reputation management is the need of the hour.
The worst possible thing you can do for your brand is to deny the existence of any sort of negative backlash. The one thing with a negative online review is that once it is out there, people from all walks of life in all corners of the world are privy to it. And then, the onus is on you to prove that the negative press had been a result of incorrect facts doing the rounds or some sort of misinterpretation of facts. By ignoring the comments, you, however, encourage the theory that there might be some truth behind it after all. And remember that a heartfelt and sincere apology can go a long way in restoring customers’ faith in your brand.
Reputation management also includes acknowledging the positive comments and reviews. You should strive to build a network of loyal customers which always proves to be beneficial in the longer run.
Reputation management is critical as a negative word of mouth can be the kiss of death for your brand. Many companies have specialised PR teams who work to manage the reputation of their brands. There are hundreds of reputation management consultants offering such services and dozens of firms specialising in reputation management. New companies and businesses are cropping up every day, and with a public memory having a short shelf-life, one negative review can get your brand replaced some other newer brand. One simply cannot afford to ignore the effect that taking a reputation hit will have on the finances of the company. Thus, reputation management can no longer be treated as an afterthought. It is an important aspect of the marketing strategy of any company and deserves unique attention from specialised personnel.