Online Reputation Management

How to Build a Foundation for Online Reputation

As the speed and breadth of our digital lives increases, online reputation management is more important than ever. Almost daily we see companies either basking in the lift from a positive online experience or digging out from underneath a major public gaffe.

These highs and lows are what every online reputation manager dreams about or seeks to avoid. When in reality, most companies are operating somewhere in between. Creating engaging content relevant to their communities while avoiding major negativity.  

This past week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to give a presentation about managing online reputation. As I finished preparing for the presentation, I asked myself what would be the most important thing the audience could take from this presentation? The answer: The foundation for online reputation management is brand purpose and brand consistency.

Brand Purpose
A well-defined brand purpose should guide your online content and engagement strategies. It also helps with building measurable goals for success. Knowing who you are and where you’re going allows your online strategy to fit more seamlessly into broader business objectives. Communication goals should aways be deeply rooted in advancing business objectives.

The first question I ask my clients before starting any project is what are your long term business goals? Only then can we work on a brand purpose statement or messaging platform that defines, differentiates and connects the brand to its customers.

Brand Consistency
One of the greatest takeaways I have learned throughout my career is about the necessity of brand consistency. Building and maintaining brand consistency is one of the hardest aspects of communications. However, it’s also the filter for prioritizing objectives and enhancing reputation.

Easily summed up: the experience your stakeholders have online, whether your website, social channels, blog, app or intranet, should be consistent with the experience they have in your office, at a tradeshow, on the phone with customer care or at a town hall meeting.

And when I think about those high highs and low lows we watch play out online for brands, it’s usually when a company is speaking consistent to their brand or in alignment with their brand purpose that they have the greatest opportunity for positive momentum and vice versa. Unfortunately, negative momentum can more easily affect an organization when the experience or product is inconsistent with the expectation of the brand.