Anyone who’s in the public eye should be working constantly to curate and manage their reputation – both on and offline. And in today’s ultra-connected world, this includes every business, brand or company that’s interacting with customers in any way should be doing the same.
Back in the day, celebrities, MPs and other people with a public presence may have utilized a PR manager to stay on top of their press and manage carefully crafted interviews. Fast forward today and there is no easy way to control what people say on the Internet about you as an individual or as a business.
Why you should hire a reputation manager
Reputation management is increasingly important every step we collectively take further into a world that is largely governed by what happens online. And this is why a reputation manager should be a must hire.
Effective reputation management is about implementing strategies that influence how people think about you or your brand. So, a reputation manager could work for just one person, represent a whole business or work with a brand management team.
Individuals who are well-known – in any sphere, whether purely entertainment or as a thought leader within a business sector – benefit from the work a reputation manager does. And in a different way, a brand does too.
Reputation management can mean anything from strategizing to improve an individual’s public profile, protecting the individual’s privacy or implementing a crisis communication plan for someone who is dealing with damage to their reputation. Whether they’re crafting, creating, improving, or concealing an individual or entity’s public image, reputation managers focus on shaping public perception of the subject.
Who should be using a reputation manager?
As we’ve touched on, a reputation manager is essential for individuals who have some kind of public presence. They’re the ones who should be concerned about their reputation, and how online can impact offline reputation management.
The kinds of people who would benefit are those in the public eye. Maybe they’re an ultra-high net worth individual who makes waves when they Tweet, or perhaps they’re a celebrity or sports personality. They could also be a politician or a businessperson who has a large audience.
Moving away from the individual, at Igniyte we strongly feel that every business and every brand could benefit from employing or working with a dedicated reputation manager. There are endless examples of corporate reputational crises, and in some cases the damage was insurmountable. Think Enron, for example.
Other major corporations, such as BP and Tesla have gone through reputation crises and emerged still standing, but there is always a cost.
Consistency is key for ORM
This doesn’t mean that brands and businesses only need a reputation manager when in crisis or when someone makes a mistake on social media or in the media. Constant and sophisticated monitoring of a brand’s public perception is absolutely vital in 2022.
We live in the digitally connected age, and the pandemic has sped this up by a significant factor. Entire sectors that had never considered going online were forced to pivot and fast during lockdowns. Most did and it have found a whole new revenue stream. Those that didn’t lost out – either financially or simply stopped doing business.
Now the business world is emerging from the worst of the pandemic, it’s clearer than ever that a constant digital presence is necessary. And that means vigilance over its impact on public perception is also necessary.
Igniyte’s stats show that 87% of people will take their money elsewhere if they see negative coverage about a business online. This is how important reputation management is, particularly perhaps to SMEs.
OK, but what does a reputation manager do?
This depends entirely on the client. Our reputation managers create bespoke strategies according to the client’s needs. If the client is a brand that wants to create and grow its online presence, then the reputation manager will create a strategy that includes optimized content, social media content and placing coverage in the press.
If the client is an individual looking for help to get through a reputational crisis, such as a messy court case, then the reputation manager will work on that through suppressing or diluting negative content.
Igniyte, for example, has partnerships with legal experts in place in order to remove negative links or information that is damaging and not in the public interest. Legal action can be taken to do this if necessary.
Times have changed and so has reputation management
Before the internet, the worst that could happen to an individual or a brand is some gossip in the newspapers. It was much easier to cultivate the reputation of a celebrity or public figure, when the press was so limited and channels of direct communication with the public relatively few.
However, the advent of the Internet has completely changed this. Someone’s reputation can be made or broken based on one ill advised Tweet that snowballs into viral coverage. And it can happen via one of many communication channels, with very little input from the person or brand themselves.
This has meant a total change to the way that reputations are managed, and led to online reputation management (ORM). This forks off the wider reputation management scope to focus on the specific management of social media and search engine results.
A good reputation manager pays off
We’ve been in the reputation management and ORM game for many years now. The best reputation managers have a mix of skills and strengths. They’re discrete and strategically vital to businesses.
They’re able to advise and create a strategy that provides crisis management and ongoing support to the client to build up their resilience to potential future reputational problems.
We work with clients across many sectors and at different levels. Our reputation managers have the skills to populate your website with authentic, optimized content and to work with media contacts to place coverage in strategic places.
Our advice, particularly to brands and businesses, is not to wait until you’re in a reputation crisis but to recognize the risks and plan accordingly.