Corporate Reputation Management (CRM) is the process of monitoring, improving, and managing your organization’s reputation. It involves strategies and actions to maintain and enhance a company’s public image.
Corporate reputation management is crucial because a company’s reputation can significantly impact its success, customer trust, and overall brand value. A good CRM strategy will allow a company to cultivate its public image, address negative issues, and influence public perception to build and maintain a positive reputation.
Understanding Corporate Reputation Management
Corporate reputation consists of 5 key elements. We’ll discuss each individually to help you understand why corporate reputation matters and why managing it is crucial to your company’s overall brand perception.
- Social Responsibility: Every company has an impact on its community, whether that’s environmentally, socially, or both. To keep a positive public perception, your company should be taking steps towards growing its community. These initiatives often involve giving back to the community through volunteering, offering career or mentorship programs, and even getting involved in local events. This is a great way to spread brand awareness while making a positive change.
- Vision & Leadership: The leadership team at your company sets the standard for everyone else. If an employee sees that their boss does not try to spread brand awareness or serves as a poor representation of the company’s values, how can you expect that employee to care? When leadership stays engaged in the company and sets high standards of representation for the company, the rest of your staff will follow. This puts a positive light on your brand and encourages a positive work environment where each team member is equally engaged in the company’s overall goals.
- Products & Services: Regardless of what type of product or service your company offers, it’s crucial that the company, as a whole, stands behind it. Listening goes a long way when something breaks. Don’t think one negative review is nothing to worry about; with the state of online reviewing today, one negative review can snowball into hundreds if you aren’t addressing the core issue. Take time to understand why things went wrong, look internally for the root cause, and take whatever steps possible to confront it. All companies mess up, but your audience will notice if you take accountability and steps toward change, which can help repair their trust in your brand.
- Workplace Environment: Building a healthy, positive, growth-focused workplace is essential for any company’s reputation with its employees. Employees want to feel seen and heard, not just like another cog in the machine. Conduct anonymous feedback reviews often, take time to speak to your employees face to face, and facilitate growth opportunities and conflict resolution. Keeping the leadership team involved in these things will go a long way in showing your employees that the company cares about its people.
- Online Presence: In today’s digital age, your online reputation is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to influencing your brand’s perception. Keep tabs on your review sites (Glassdoor, Yelp, BBB), and check for consistent complaints or negative comments. If you see the same issues brought up repeatedly, this may be a sign that you’ll need to look internally for a root cause. You’ll also want to keep tabs on social media mentions, whether they are direct comments under your company’s posts or secondary comments where your name is mentioned but the company profile wasn’t tagged. Staying on top of these things will help you determine what your online audience truly thinks of your company and can even help you catch a potential reputation crisis before it grows.
The How-To’s of Effective Reputation Management
Measuring Corporate Reputation
How do you gauge your company’s current reputation status? As you may have noticed in the section above, many factors contribute to the public perception of your company.
Let’s start with your online reputation. Look into common review sites like Google, Yelp, and BBB. What are the star ratings there? The number of reviews? Common themes of negative reviews? These should give you an idea of what online audiences think about your company, services, or products. Next, look at employee review sites like Indeed and Glassdoor and ask yourself the same questions. Doing so will help you understand your staff’s perception of specific management practices, team members, and the company as a whole.
Now, take a look at the search results for your company name. What type of news articles are you seeing, and do they speak positively or negatively about your company? Are these articles about your company, or are they focused on your competitors?
Lastly, take a look at your mentions and comments on social media. Although social media is online, it can help you understand what regular people think of your company. Perhaps they aren’t upset enough to leave a negative review, but many people will turn to social media to vent about a poor experience.
Looking at all of this together can help you understand whether people see your company in a positive or negative light and also helps identify potential core issues that you and your leadership team should be addressing, both with the public and with your staff.
Improving Corporate Reputation
Now that you have a good understanding of your corporate reputation, what can you do to improve it?
- Craft Quality Content: If the core issue for your company’s reputation is a lack of positive press and third-party articles, it’s time to start pumping out content. Content could include blog posts on a third-party site (separate from your company blog), asking news outlets to write press releases, building new, relevant profiles such as Crunchbase, or improving existing profiles like LinkedIn. As long as you prioritize quality over quantity, you can create well-optimized content. After sharing this content, you’ll want to track your company’s search results to monitor when and where this content is ranking. Promoting the new positive content can also help suppress any existing negative content.
- Managing Reviews: If negative reviews and star ratings are the main issue, you’ll want to build a team solely focused on review management. With everyone trying to go viral these days, it’s not uncommon for a company to be hit with a review bombing attack at least once. Having a team dedicated to responding to all reviews, facilitating customer service escalations, reporting reviews that violate guidelines, and requesting new reviews will prepare you for a review-based reputation crisis.
- Social Media Monitoring: Even if you think your audience isn’t on social media, it’s still a good idea to monitor various platforms. We’ve seen with many clients that it only takes one viral Tweet, TikTok, or Facebook group to launch a company into a reputation crisis. Monitoring your social media comments and mentions can help you keep tabs on your online reputation, identify common complaints or issues your audience has with your company, and lots of other helpful data. You should have at least one or two team members dedicated to weekly social media check-ins to help keep an eye on things.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to have a corporate reputation strategy and a team ready and capable of implementing that strategy. Don’t wait until your company is actively in a reputation crisis to build out these strategies; at that point, the fight to fix your reputation will be more challenging. If your team needs more support building out and managing strategies, check out our services, and don’t hesitate to reach out!
Addressing and Solving Reputation Issues
Common Reputation Issues
At Go Fish Digital, we’ve seen new clients face the same reputation issues time and time again. Some of the most common issues we come across include:
- Poor Review Site Ratings
- Negative Press
- Viral Social Posts Gone Wrong
Our clients are often overwhelmed by the negative sentiment or are confused about why they are receiving such negativity in the first place and aren’t sure about where to start. While each strategy is unique to the client and their reputation issue, here are some of the damage control strategies we typically provide regarding these common issues:
Poor Review Site Ratings
You’ve noticed that several of your business’s online review sites have poor ratings. How do you fix this? To manage online reviews, we recommend verifying their accuracy and appropriateness first and flagging those that violate review guidelines.
You should also respond to all reviews, especially negative ones, addressing specific concerns to demonstrate attentiveness. Avoid generic responses, ensuring reviewers feel acknowledged. Additionally, consider initiating a review request strategy, adhering to site guidelines, as it can garner positive feedback but also requires proactive handling of any negative comments that may arise.
A new article came out about your business, great! Except… it turns out to be not so favorable. What do you do now? One effective strategy we recommend is suppressing the negative article. Suppression involves identifying any positive content ranking in the SERPs just below the article and promoting it.
Another effective strategy is creating new content or profiles on third-party sites to increase the number of positive URLs ranking in your business’s SERPs.
Viral Social Posts Gone Wrong
A video or social media post is going viral online, and you begin seeing negative comments and reviews pour in for your business. However, you quickly realize the company mentioned in the video is not yours! How do you put out the flames?
First, put out a public statement on all platforms that states your company is not associated with whatever the viral social post is discussing. Next, set up a team dedicated to monitoring and responding to comments and flagging any reviews left on your review sites that were not intended for your business.
While each review site has its filters, they unfortunately don’t catch everything, so it’s up to you and your team to flag any reviews that violate the site’s guidelines. These two strategies are not foolproof, but they should help slow down the negativity and remove inaccurate negative reviews over time.
So, how can your business avoid these common reputation crises? Well, it’s important to build out CRM strategies like the ones above before your business lands in a crisis. We’ve mentioned this multiple times because proactive, social, review, and reputation management strategies are the most effective way to shorten the length of a crisis and potentially prevent it.
Navigating Corporate Reputation Management Jargon
The phrases and acronyms surrounding corporate reputation management can be confusing, so let’s break down the most common terms you’ll find when reading up on CRM:
- CRM – Corporate Reputation Management: the management and monitoring of your business’s overall reputation and perception.
- ORM – Online Reputation Management: the management and monitoring of an individual’s overall online reputation and perception.
- SERP – Search Engine Results Page
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization: the analysis and optimization of a website or webpage to increase the quality and ranking of that page.
- CTR – Click Through Rate: the process of increasing the number of organic clicks and engagement on a specific link in the SERP.
- Page Rank – The number assigned to each URL result’s rank in the SERP, typically in chronological order.
- Sentiment Analysis – The process of assessing each part of your online presence to determine whether it can be marked as positive, neutral, or negative.
- Sentiment Score – A 100-point algorithm to help you calculate the overall sentiment of the first page of your business’s search results.
- Social Listening – The process of monitoring and analyzing your business’s social media mentions and comments, to determine if your overall social media footprint is perceived as positive, neutral, or negative.
Our Services for Corporate Reputation Management
Are you overwhelmed by the thought of taking on all of this work to manage your business’s reputation? Don’t sweat it, Go Fish Digital is here to help! The following services can be customized to each unique reputation situation, ensuring that you and your business are covered on all bases.
- B2B SEO
- Online Reputation Management
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Management
- Digital PR
- …and more!
Don’t let a lack of knowledge or manpower prevent you from taking control of your corporate reputation. Our team is filled with experts in each of these fields, ready to guide you through each step, take on the heavy lifting, and get your reputation back into the green zone.
Effective corporate reputation management (CRM) is vital for shaping a positive brand image. Understanding the key elements of CRM, how to measure your reputation, and learning which proactive steps you should be taking are crucial for long-term success. Don’t wait until your business is in an active reputation crisis to seek help. Contact Go Fish Digital today to proactively safeguard and enhance your corporate reputation!
Search News Straight To Your Inbox
Join thousands of marketers to get the best search news in under 5 minutes. Get resources, tips and more with The Splash newsletter: