Reputation management can be a nightmare for companies. The online mob of angry comments and calls for something to be “canceled” are always just one tweet or post away.
In some cases, brands don’t even have to do anything especially rage-inducing for the social media mob to swoop down due to some lamentable turn of events. It’s become a space in time when everyone has to watch their backs.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to see the backlash coming, as many exhausted brand managers can attest to. And, it’s not possible to control what people say either, of course. So is it a lost cause? Not by a long shot. While having a damage control plan is as important as ever, companies can be proactive about their reputation management too.
Take a look at these excellent examples of reputation management and learn a few ways to stay ahead of the curve and potentially avoid a crisis altogether.
Examples of Brands That Manage Their Reputations Expertly
Napa Tour Shuttle
Sometimes customers can become disgruntled at no fault of the company, but they’re going to take it out on the company nonetheless. Take this Napa Tour Shuttle review on TripAdvisor, for example. The customer clearly had a bad experience, and while some concerns were warranted, this person also carried some of the blame.
The tour shuttle company, for their part, responded respectfully while addressing the issue directly and apologizing to the client.
Airlines have an incredibly hard time when it comes to online customer service. When a person is inconvenienced, they tend to take to social media to complain to the airport or airline.
Yet JetBlue has managed to stay on top of their brand reputation management by prioritizing customer service. The moment a person complains about a delay or missing luggage, a representative quickly replies with helpful comments.
One thing these brands have in common is that they responded quickly and professionally. They acknowledged the customer’s views and concerns and made it known that they considered it in their own practices.
Tips For Effective Brand Reputation Management
1. Always Address Negative Comments ASAP
The worst thing a company can do is to leave people stewing with their grievances. When a brand manager or social media manager sees complaints popping up online, they need to address it quickly. Of course, there is the possibility that this response can make things worse, and so it has to be handled with care.
Using respectful language and showing compassion and understanding is usually the best way to go. Even if the customer is technically wrong, responding with a neutral stance is still the most appropriate approach. It may not fully placate that customer, but it shows anyone who sees those comments that the company takes customer care seriously and handles complaints fairly.
On the flip side, don’t let positive comments go unnoticed, whether they’re via social media or a comment from a blogger in their article. Showing some appreciation can go just as far for promoting brand loyalty as responding well to customer complaints can.
2. Set Up Alerts for Mentions and Keywords
Brand managers need to have their finger on the pulse of online discourse. The easiest way to do that is by setting up alerts and monitoring mentions of the company. There are different types of brand reputation and keyword alert tools out there that can help.
A few key attributes to take into account are shares on social media platforms, keyword searches, and engagement. The internet being what it is, mentions, and shares with higher likes or comments should get precedence as they have the highest reach.
However, remember that it’s nearly impossible to please everyone and there will always be negative comments and trolls. It isn’t necessary to reply to every negative comment online if a reply doesn’t feel warranted.
3. Regularly Check Backlinks
Backlinks provide a fantastic way to gain insight into what more authoritative outlets like blogs and newspapers are saying about the brand. Check backlinks regularly so that the company can address any misgivings or accusations soon after they appear. If needed, the company can address any issues directly by releasing a blog post or statement of their own.
Reputation management is a key part of any company’s PR strategy. Those who don’t focus on their reputation will have public opinion shape it for them, and they will quickly lose any control over their brand image. Credibility soon follows and with that loss comes a downturn in trust and sales.
Companies can be proactive by actively monitoring their brand image via social and web tools, but also by being open about their values. These days, people like when companies share their values and beliefs and take an active stance on what they deem is important. There will never be a way to please everyone with this, but it can generate a lot of brand loyalty.