Monday, November 3, 2008

Online Reputation Management and Brand Awarness

A strong brand helps a company communicate with its customers / clients. So many companies don’t bother spending millions of dollars in building online brand awareness for their company name / brand name. This helps them boost up their online sales in a periodic manner. But for businesses, all this great awareness can come crashing down with one online "reputation disaster."
Even after many years of wonderful business activities among the customers, one single negative event can totally spoil the company’s image in the public eye for a very long time. If a company get a negative product review or service review in blog, that may lead to a very serious problem. Today, millions of people engage in social activities for example, in facebook alone 50 million customers are registered and half of the registered user login everyday. So when a negative comment posted in social networking sites like facebook that may totally spoil the brand image you have build for years together. As media continues to scrap with the outburst of social networks, aggregators like Google will become increasingly important in helping users decide whether or not to do business with you.

So what should one do to tackle this? I recommend three important steps that should be incorporated in your routine business structure.

1. Monitor: Companies should authorize an employee or hire an external service to scrutinize, and drive positive discussions.
2. Respond: Your technical staff should be ready to respond to any product or support issue raised from any online communities. And he / she should be able to develop a positive action plan if at all negative sentiments develop.
3. Optimize: Optimize your reputation online. You should be ready to invest in the online aspects of your reputation just as you invest in other dimensions of your brand.

Don’t ever make an assumption that having a strong brand leads to a strong reputation. Strengthening your brand also involves a dedication to an effective reputation management strategy. Ignoring this critical factor is a risk that companies can’t afford to take today.


pucsicsal said...

Absolutely. User reviews and web word-of-mouth are double edged, but you certainly do need them. Increasingly, web shoppers will not even consider a product or brand if they can't find anything (or more importantly, anything good) being said by users.

Mercy said...

@ pucsicsal- Yes user reviews will surely increase the sales(as u mentioned by web shoppers)esp in sites like amazon and ebay user reviews hold a great value interms of conversion.

chaitanya said...

"short and well explained" keep up the good work and thx for responding to my earlier comments.

The recommendations above are exactly what we suggest for our customers at Zeta Interactive.

But many companies never think of reputation management until their reputation has been tarnished by an unhappy customer who published their dissatisfaction on the web. Often times, those comments reach the search results and it can take a very long time to get the content removed or replaced.

I would like to add few more recommendations to the list.

Monitoring and taping the most influential bloggers and converting them into “brand evangelist" would influence your brand image drastically.
E.g.: AvinashKaushik who is a known blogger is also a brand evangelist for Google.

Having a competitive intelligence program in place which monitors things being said on the web about your competitor as well would help you to tap and convert your competitor unsatisfied customer into your own prospective lead.


Mercy said...

@ Chaitanya - Thanks for the comments. Yes you are very true on unsatisfied customers demolishing the brand online.

Making the famous blogger to be a brand evangelist is not affordable for all small business people. The points explained by myself in the post can be done by the small business owner himself. Or does not make him unaffordable to hire an external source to do those.

chaitanya said...


Budget is always a point to be considered.

If Avinash is too expensive Opt for mercy, can negotiate r8?(Kidding)


Mercy said...

@ chaitanya,

LOL :-)

kdoering said...

I loved this post and wish that more business owners realized the importance of this.
As owner of a market research firm in Chicago, I can tell you that some clients are passionate about their customer service and it shows. One of our services is mystery shopping and I can always tell when a store or place of business uses this method for insuring good customer service. Employees are on their toes because they never know who the mystery shopper is. However, when I approach some prospects, they feel they don’t need a form of customer satisfaction measurement or reputation management because they know they give good service. They are the people that are so hard to reach.
I believe that the increase of social media will help us all as consumers however. is one site that is growing in popularity. If a customer Googles a restaurant they are thinking of trying, a Yelp review might be one of their search results on page one. This is where we first became aware of the influence of social media. Businesses will need to really pay attention to this in order to stay on top of their game.

Mercy said...

@kdoering - Thanks for the feedback kodering! Yes you are really true. I feel its mainly because of the growing popularity of consumer generated media sites (blogs, forum, message boards). General public can quickly receive the latest news and express their views which could make or break a brand. Today’s Internet savvy consumer trusts opinions published online on these sites and also decide their purchase decisions on these reviews.
In the year 2008, the consumer has more information available to them than ever before, so monitoring and controlling the information published about the company is an important strategy for all organisations.

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