Warren Buffet has a famous quote about corporate business reputation.
Mr. Buffet says, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.“
As you can see, a reputation is a very fragile thing to deal with. The good news is that as long as you maintain a level of common sense, you should be able to do it very easily (for more complex reputation cases, it will take many months and sometimes years).
There are several ways in which you can repair and protect your reputation. In this article, we will be going over some of the top ways in which you can repair your reputation and protect it for the future, and we are talking about “online” today.
Here Are Top Ways To Begin To Fix Your Reputation and Manage It For The Future:
The fact is, you will not be able to protect your brands reputation unless you have the authority of it (multiple assets from websites and external assets like social networks) on Google and other search engines. It is imperative that you are ranking well for your own brand name, and that you have built history, trust and equity. That way, you know that you are going to be able to control it sufficiently. Without having this authority, others will be able to rank your brand on the first couple of pages of the search results which will lead to your entire brands reputation being vulnerable.
2. Have A Plan Before Fixing It.
It is also essential that you have a plan before you even attempt to fix your brands reputation. You should always do whatever it takes to develop a solid plan on how to handle a reputation crisis. A lot of the times the best way to fix a problem is to not respond to the problem at all. Believe it or not, but a lot of the times your rebuttals might actually hurt you because they will push the rankings up higher for the offending comments.
3. Be Quick To Apologize To Customer Complaints.
It is essential that you do everything that you can in order to respond swiftly to your customer complaints. It is essential to respond to your customer complaints and/or comments simply because a happy customer is going to end up telling five of their friends. Whereas, an unhappy customer is going to be willing to tell 10 of their friends. At the same time, a customer that had their issues resolved sufficiently and quickly will tell even more friends. Therefore, it is going to be in your best interest as a brand and company to be sure to get your customers the best customer support and care that they need to be satisfied.
4. Control The Conversation.
Believe it or not, but you can actually effectively control the conversation about your brand if you set up a keyword and brand alert system correctly. Google.com/alerts is fairly easy to configure. You simply set up Google alerts for your particular brands name and/or other keywords you deem important to monitor. This will alert you whenever someone is talking about your brand regardless of whether or not it is good or bad. This is going to allow you to effectively control the conversation that is going on about your brand. If things take a turn for the worse, you will be able to respond quickly and swiftly to remedy the situation. There are free tools and paid tools to help you in this effort.
5. Understand The Complaints You Receive.
Another thing that you are going to want to do is be sure that you understand all of the complaints that your brand and/or company is already receiving. This is going to go a long ways towards helping you effectively eliminate the complaints all together. For instance, are the complaints directly towards your quality control? Are they directed at your customer service? Figure out what people are complaining about so you can work the best way possible in order to fix it.
6. Limit Potential Surprises.
For the future, you might want to own all of the domains that could risk your businesses brand image. That includes your .com, .net, .org and related extensions. And, if you own a particular brand, you might want to purchase a different URL – such as www.(yourbrand)sucks.com. By owning these URL’s, you are going to be able to control these domains and not let the content of them take you by surprise. These are domains that can effectively hurt your image a lot because they will rank higher in search engines organically. It can take a professional reputation management company weeks, months or years to fix a badly damaged brand.
7. Use Testimonials.
By using real and believable testimonials on your website, you should be able to eliminate and/or reduce the amount of problems that you experience in regards to your company’s and/or brands reputation. This is because you are going to have real and truthful testimonials on your website that vouch for your brands reputation. By doing this, you are going to make it less important to seek out other third party information or testimonials to make a purchasing decision for potential customers.
One thing is for sure, the Internet has definitely changed the way that reputation is handled and the way that it is perceived. While it can take a ton of money to build a reputable brand, it can literally take seconds to have it destroyed.
It takes more than just search engines and social media to fix it – you may need to employ a team of SEO, PR and communications professionals to implement a repair plan, build new policies for your firm and create sound business strategies (both internally and externally) to fix it long term.
NOTE: Of course, we assume that you are a company of high integrity and trust, and that you simply got into an unfortunate situation that was out of your control at the time!
The good news is that there are logical and proven sequenced steps to getting your reputation management in order. And, it is essential to do everything that you can to protect it. Be sure to utilize the tips in this article to do just that.
Jon Rognerud and Chaosmap work with Fortune 500 companies, small business and entrepreneurs to create digital traffic strategies that scales up customers, leads and sales. Mr. Rognerud wrote a best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur). Connect directly here.