A high degree of visibility around companies, services, products and brands is prevalent currently in the age of the internet. In such a scenario, defending a brand’s reputation against negative reviews or promoting positive reviews has become extremely critical for a business’ success. Today, brands have various modes of interacting with their customers. Similarly, customers utilize various channels for their online purchase. They also have the freedom to post reviews and comments for millions to view and act upon. This power also has a devastating effect on brand perception if negative comments overshadow positive posts. Thus it becomes essential for companies to manage their brand reputation strategically.

For most businesses, reputation is everything. Creating a brand entity, furthering brand consciousness and generating favorable opinion, ranks high on the priority list of most businesses. This is especially important for B2C enterprises.

How reputation can be influenced in the online world

Take the case of one of the largest fast food chains in the world that had to re-shuffle their executive leadership and take a hard look at unwanted menu items. This large-scale change happened only because of the mounting public disengagement made highly visible over the online space. Some other pertinent recent examples of reputation management done both right and wrong –

  • A multinational food and beverage company failed to address negative comments about its environmental policies, attracting a backlash from the public. This forced them to suspend activity on their public page
  • A Korean electronics giant was fined upwards of $300,000 for hiring people to write misleading & exaggerated reviews about their products and degrading ones about competitor’s’ products
  • A scheduled tweets app had faced internal problems and was forced to suspend operations. They were quick to address queries, connect with people, and work hard to resolve the problem promptly, keeping users updated the entire time. This won them accolades and increased their user base in the long run. This is an example of reputation management done correctly.

The need for professional expertise in managing and defending brand reputation
These examples clearly show the devastating effect bad reputation can have on a business. It also shows the obvious advantages of a well thought out, concerted effort, to maintain and constantly improve reputation. This is precisely the reason why a large number of businesses worldwide are currently hiring professionals, and using reputation management software to bolster their business.

Information gathered from studies and market surveys consistently show the crucial nature of business reputation. Here are a few interesting facts –

  • According to the 2012 Aon Insurance Study, there is an 80% chance of a company losing at least 20% of its value (over and above the market) in any single month, in a given 5 year period due to reputation damage resulting in sustained value loss
  • Reputation is also the most valuable asset recognized by CEOs.
  • Reputation management is recognized as a holistic business activity, featuring elements from strategic planning, management, marketing, communication, CRM and HR

In short, reputation, defined as the perception of distinctiveness or value in context with peers and competitors, is something of crucial importance. Businesses, therefore, also need to implement reputation management to help them to stay competitive and growing. With the advent of online reputation management, the process has become much easier and more intuitive than ever before.

The Significance of Business Reputation Management

It has been seen that businesses with better reputation management usually face success on various levels. They keep running costs lower, get better access to talent pool, become more likely to get help from governments and investors in times of need, and generally exhibit better ROI and revenue. Reputation management is not an event, but a process - a well-planned, judiciously executed and thoroughly integrated process that helps business reach their goals and sustain favor among customers and peers. Failure to adopt reputation management within your corporate values will lead to a shaky identity online, loss of trust from customers (both new and existing ones). These will in turn, result in losing out a major customer base (online visitors) to competition and loss of revenues.

Reputation Management Problems for the B2C Sector

The major problem B2C companies face when it comes to reputation management include –

  • Failure to connect with their customer base.
  • Failure to address concerns and answer queries in a timely manner.
  • Inability to attract positive reviews for their products and services.
  • Failure to contain the visibility of negative reviews for their products and services.

For all these cases, businesses can derive great benefits by using reliable reputation management software. Using specialized software for reputation management has many advantages, and can put businesses in a better position. It will help them to manage contingencies, deal with problems and harness the power of the software, to maintain and improve reputation in an organic way.

Reputation Management Software – Benefits

The positive impact reputation management can have on businesses can never be understated. It helps build competitive advantage, advances brand value, and has long-term financial impact. Here are some vital benefits to consider –

  • Monitoring Reviews – Businesses can use software to aggregate reviews across multiple sites and platforms, with support for setting up alerts and notifications.
  • Generating Reviews – Software makes it easy for businesses to receive reviews through multiple platforms like email, text message, websites and social media reviews, web check-ins, mobile kiosks and physical locations.
  • Marketing Reviews – Software can help businesses push positive reviews to prominent positions in search engines, social media and high authority sites.
  • Managing Reviews – Software enables businesses to access and manage all reviews from a central location through online reputation management systems, minimizing access time and response time.
  • Analytics – Businesses can have detailed review analytics for gauging reputation, changes in reputation and trends, with the option of further breaking them up based on the criteria of their choice.

Using Reputation Management software such as the Reputation Management Platform (RMP™) offered by CIGNEX Datamatics provides a business with many tangible and intangible benefits. Businesses can expect revenues to increase by 5-9% with every 1 star improvement in ratings. Together, these add up in the long run and deliver spectacular results in driving growth. It helps businesses stay in touch with their customer base, manage and market reviews, improve brand perception and correct any operational or marketing discrepancies by better engaging with customers. Make a wise choice. Save your company from the pitfalls of negative reputation online and enhance your business reputation by adopting reliable Reputation Management software.