Management and business are and always have been inseparable. All types of things need to be managed—the financial and other assets of the business, the human resources, and so on. The most truly important thing to be managed, however, is not these things—crucial though they may be for running the operations of the company—but its reputation, what the public thinks of it, how they compare in their eyes with other, similar businesses. It thus makes sense to speak of “reputation management,” a term which was originally used exclusively in the field of public relations but which has come to be applied to the business world as well. More specifically, a company’s reputation may be defined as what people find out about it when they perform a web search for it. Here are seven reasons why reputation management is essential to the success of any business, of whatever kind, large or small.
1) Developing the brand name
The brand name of a product is its essential feature. Think of the way people react positively to images such as the Golden Arches, the figure of the Colonel and the rooster on the Corn Flakes box. With every brand symbol comes a reaction of some sort, either positive or negative, just as various words and even proper names have their own unique connotations. Reputation management involves asking questions like “What is the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear that name?” and ”Do they think, ’That is the kind of thing I want to get for myself and my family’ or “I am never buying that product again!”?
2) Finding and monitoring what people say
A large part of reputation management consists of finding out what people are saying about the company or product online. The next step naturally consists of figuring out why they say what they do and if it is bad, how the company can remedy the situation. The most prominent online stores like Amazon allow customers to rate the products they buy there and make reviews. Reading them is a major part of the reputation manager’s job.
3) Dealing with possible slanderous online remarks
There are, have been and always will be people who say bad things about other people and their businesses, whether out of malice or just to blow off steam (angry ex-employees have been known to engage in such destructive activity). An effective reputation manager knows how to perform a “wide range sector analysis” to filter out those sites that contain harmful feedback as well as the most productive way to deal with such people.
4) Checking online reviews before buying
Studies have revealed that 92 percent of all adult consumers regularly look at consumer reviews of the products that they intend to buy before they make their final decision. For this reason, businesspeople must make sure that their products are of high quality and that if for some reason somebody finds something wrong, there will be a customer support team who will be ready and able to help resolve the problem.
5) The prevalence of online shopping
Estimates such as that given by wiki.answers suggest that about 70 percent of all shopping today is done on the web. And online review sites have been burgeoning. Therefore the savvy business owner recognizes that if he can get a reputation for quality products online, then people will not only be more likely to come back for more–they will be more likely to try that company in the first place. Having an efficient reputation management company working for you will relieve you of the pressure of scanning for possible fake reviews.
6) Higher ranking on search engines
A company that has a positive online reputation will also rank higher on a list of search results. This in turn increases the chances of people coming to buy, which results in further opportunities to prove oneself. It works in a circle!
7) Maintaining “the bottom line”
Most important, a good reputation is what any company needs to make money, which after all is why they exist.
Timothy Cohane and Jeffery Epstein are knowledgeable and experienced in the skill of reputation changing for small and large businesses alike. Helping management find their strength and companies grow in solitude.