A brand’s reputation depends not only on the image it projects to the public, but also on the comments that the public makes on different platforms.
It may seem that these opinions cannot be controlled, that there is nothing we can do about a reputational crisis. However, although we cannot directly influence the public’s opinion, there are different strategies that help consumers to have more confidence in a company and, therefore, reinforce its reputation.
When can we say that a company is going through a reputational crisis?
Reputational crises are characterised by a loss of consumer confidence in a particular brand. This can have a direct impact on the company’s sales, revenues and participation in events.
Today, thanks to the internet, it is much easier to know why these crises have occurred and even if they are going to occur. Opinions on social networks and websites, and even news reports on the web, can give clues and even certainty about such situations. However, this is positive and actually plays in your favour as a brand.
In fact, communication agencies use these platforms and messages to assess the level of reputation they have among their clients.
It is important to know that reputation is not static. It can fluctuate over time and in digital environments even more so. Because of this, a good monitoring and evaluation of it will be key not only to prevent a crisis, but also to know how to deal with it in the best possible way.
How to identify the origin and depth of a reputation crisis?
These are the two elements to take into account when analysing the reputation of a brand and knowing whether it is going through a reputational crisis:
- Analyse everything that is said about your brand and compare it with others in the sector.
- Find out the repercussions of everything that has been said on the different channels.
Depending on this analysis, we will be able to know where and how the crisis has originated, as well as the size of the crisis.
Tools and techniques for dealing with reputational crises
Due to the immense amount of comments that are posted on the internet, it is practically impossible to monitor them manually. Therefore, we can make use of different platforms to help us analyse these interactions. Below we recommend a few of them.
Reputology is one of the most accurate platforms for analysing online reputation. It is very useful for companies that have different sites in different locations. It works by scanning the web for content about your brand and suggests actions to deal with it in the best possible way.
Another interesting platform is Talkwalker. It monitors consumer sentiment on the main social networks and on more than 150 million websites.
In the case of Hootsuite, we can have at our fingertips a very well-planned analysis centre in which to manage the brand’s presence with great precision.
In terms of reputational crisis management techniques, applying the corporate reputation management cycle can be very effective. It consists of first listening to all criticism, then assessing it and, finally, dealing with it in two ways: reactively or proactively.
In the first case, we will respond to negative opinions in a prudent manner by providing valuable information and focusing on the cause that has provoked the criticism.
In the second case, we will create different barriers by publishing positive content about the brand to prevent further negative criticism.
However, it can also be interesting to carry out surveys with your customers to learn more directly about their opinions and criticisms.
How to prevent reputational crises?
Protection, defence and monitoring. These are the three pillars that will help you prevent reputational crises for any brand, large or small.
Protection starts with knowing your buyer persona in order to convey a message that connects with their values, desires, concerns and ambitions. Moreover, it is not only the message that needs to go in this direction, but also the corporate culture that develops within the brand.
Once we have solid protection, customers will have enough information and trust to speak well of the brand and defend us against others. In other words, they will become ambassadors of sorts. However, the dreaded fake news can arise here and the best way to deal with it is transparency. How? There are different actions such as revealing parts of your work and your values that help fake news to be disproved on its own.
Finally, it is essential to be attentive to all conversations and interactions generated on networks and websites through monitoring and analysis.
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