It’s inevitable that various individuals and companies will suffer a reputation crisis every year, some recover quicker than others. Whether it’s a misjudgement, naivety or simply misfortune, every individual or company has potential to put their reputation at risk.
One example of a worldwide company’s rise and fall is Indonesian company Pulp and Paper. In 2011, it went from the world’s biggest pulp and paper company to a brand best known for destroying pristine rainforests and drivingspecies to the brink of extinction.
In total, 130 companies severed ties with Pulp and Paper as a result of this scandal, including Mattel, Disney and Unilever. Yet two years later, the firm reinvented itself and is focuses on a new green agenda, which includes a deforestation policy and a promise to promote rainforest preservation.
Pulp and Paper found the perfect way to respond to criticism, salvaging its reputation which lay in tatters just months earlier. But how does a company regain public trust? The answer, it seems, is transparency. The majority of businesses with a tarnished reputation are caught out for either lying or failing to meet their own high standards which they claim to set.
Improving your online reputation
There are no quick wins to reputation recovery, and while a reputational crisis may have arisen online, your recovery efforts must start offline. It is possible to improve your reputation and regain public trust by taking some of the following steps:
- Plan – The best way to recover from a crisis quickly is by having a plan in place before it even happens. Of course, many crises cannot be foreseen. But by having a contingency plan or a specific crisis management team ready, you can limit the damage. An ideal crisis management team would consist of members from PR, HR, legal, marketing, and other relevant teams that can come together quickly and maintain consistency across the board.
- Listen and monitor – Gone are the days where a customer’s complaint can be ignored. Social media is a powerful tool which allows disgruntled people to have their say. Having a minimal presence on social communities can reflect badly on your brand. Particularly in a crisis, your response strategy will need to be strong in order to recover.
- Maintain transparency – Some companies choose only to respond to positive reviews, remove posts they don’t like or try to cover up certain details. That will not only make your company look as though it’s avoiding the problem. Regaining trust from consumers is the main issue with a crisis, so transparency is absolutely crucial. While your team may not be perfect, transparency and honesty is regarded highly by your consumers.
Igniyte offers various services including consultancy and training in-house to manage reputation risk and response strategies across all channels including press, social media, forums and review sites
By monitoring your name terms, auditing existing digital assets and effectively using social media, we can help you protect your reputation and set your company up with a strong online presence which will go some way in providing protection.
Get in touch with us for a discussion around how we could improve and protect your online reputation.