Definitions of “reputation”: “the opinion or consideration which is held regarding someone or something”. So easy and so hard. Given how the word is derived from latin “reputatĭo” then we’ll agree that it’s not a modern invention. Ever since ancient times people have worried about their reputation, their prestige, outside opinion or even something so-well-known and as exagerrated as “whatever they say”.
Reputation is a wide work but online reputation’s another tale altogether. As most people know, that’s all which refers to our image, brand, business or personal career which can be found online, good or bad, and something which decisively affects our business capability, the pro development, the capability to start new porjects and the trust which people and businesses place on us.
Online reputation has been discussed all too much: there are articles, books, specialized blogs and all types of docummentation. Neverthless, this topic, as many others, had been largely ignored by most pros and businesses. As if it was but a passing phenomenon or something which involved others. I’ve got the feeling, however, that an acceleration phenomenon is taking place around these questions: in a few months’ time or weeks’ a lot of people start to realize that online reputation isn’t a danger but also a magnificent opportunity.
Fear was, up until now, the prevalent aspect: people were seized by panic thinking that any mention in a forum or a search-engine could forever wreck a business’ work. As if the whole deal didn’t have a solution to it and a project would be forever doomed in the face of any thereat. CEOs and sector pros only saw online reputation as a negative thing. I think things have begun to change.
Our job has various goals but the 1st of them is to prove to pros and businesses that despite associated rsisk to public exposition, working on online reputation is and will be decisive for the future of any project. As long as this is important as a global perspective and at mid-term. The Internet reputation can be harmed overnight, that’s true, but when that happens the root of the problem doesn’t come from the Network but of the very project, on the behavior of a business. The online work is a gigantic ressonance box por some situations. And what’s damaged one day isn’t fixed on the next save if you’ve thoroughly worked on online reputation in a well-though manner by predicting problems, possible crises, and their solutions.
That’s why I’ve thought of some questions & answers on this first post talking about online reputation which we will develop in posterior entries. And to start we’ll bring up something very elemental, almost ridiculous, but which it isn’t.
Do we really know the value of our brand or business in the network?
We’ve very possibly never spent a single minute monitoring and controlling what exists and what doesn’t about a business and an online project. Which are the strong points and the weak points, which media can be used, in which we don’t show up, and those in which there’s a business but they do that out of norms, without creating conversion changes or a good relationship with the client. Finding out who talks about us, where and how. To do it in an efficient manner you need specialized and pro tools capable of emitting a certain diagnostic and their efficacy is outside any doubht.
Do people notice what we really are or what others say about it?
The image which the Network offers to the whole world about a business or a pro has a total importance. It’s very possible that the feeling, the opinion and the reputation come conditioned by opinions and commentaries of others. If the answers to the first question aren’t the expected ones is because the reputation is bad and the opinions too, we gotta think about if this isn’t produced by inaction of the own business. The worst of decisions is yield the others the control about our info. It’s a very dangerous business because our project is exposed to any risk and in any moment.
Control over information
A good online reputation goes through several stages. A business which treats their customers badly and which isn’t honest with their products and commercial management will never have one. Neverthless, the companies with good policies need to take several things into account. The first one: you must have your own voice in the Network, a communication strategy, a contents plan. Offer everyone a clear & exact message about projects, objectives, products and professional capacities gives us a seriousness image, competency and good manners which reinforces the reputation and is also a perfect counter-weight to any crisis or problem.
The crisis protocol, a must tool for our online reputation
Sooner or later a business meets a problem which can have multiple and various causes. When we talk about crises in the Network given a dissatisfied client or a problem in your own products, installlations or services, we must have the perspective and the tools to reduce the risks. You can’t hide problems in the Network but can be faced in a coherent manner. Without hiding the flaws, replying to complains, taking care of customer demands and suggestign solutions. In most of the cases, a problem which becomes a crisis is, on mid-term, a chance to demonstrate a good attitude and reaffirm the reputation while also transforming discontent customers in fans of the brand.
The personal brand, key element of a business’ online reputation
A business which isn’t treated as it deserves is the personal brand. The projects are developed by people, businesses are formed by pople and we gotta trust someone over words or initials. The online reputation of a business or a project also goes through, in a decisive manner, through online pro and personal reputation which lead it. The pros and CEOs must be conscious that they are a key element of that online reputation and must contribute with their digitial ID to achieve a perfect online reputation. The credibility of the pros, without doubt, will improve the network perception and will increase the customers’ trust.
A short-term plan
Building a solid and coherent online reputation isn’t one in a week or a month. But a specialized work is able to bring to the client the goals and tools needed to achieve it in a reasonable ammount of time. To achieve that is necessary work side-by-side with the business during a period of time. We try to imitate what medics have done for centuries: know, investigate, diagnose, apply cures, solve crises and escort those who need help until the problems are gone or the defenses are so strong that these problems won’t have the same importance. We know how to do it. And we only need that the other part has the knowledge that, as we believe, developign that plan is an important investment.