What is reputation management and how to take it to the next level?
Reputation management has become an integral part of the current media landscape. Brand reputation has been closely monitored for decades, but with the advent of the internet and social media, new channels have been added that can also influence the reputation of a brand or organisation. Online reputation management has therefore become vitally important for large organisations. After all: a dwindling reputation will have a direct impact on the success of an organisation.
What is reputation management exactly?
Reputation management is the structural monitoring of all reporting that influences how people view your product or brand, with the aim of acting on it in such a way that will help to improve or protect the reputation. By monitoring your reputation, you can keep everyone in your organisation informed on what is going on and what expectations are met, or not. Brand reputation nowadays isn’t just determined by a number of direct stakeholders, but mostly by a much larger group of fans, consumers, critics, customers, influentials, politicians and bloggers.
The basis of reputation management is good media monitoring: mapping, protecting and improving an online reputation. By monitoring both online and offline media, such as social media, RTV and newspapers, you can monitor exactly what is being said about your brand. But first you need to clearly define what it is you want to monitor. What information is important and has specific relevance for your organisation? And what’s equally important is making sure that this information is brought to the attention of the right people, in a way that is manageable and understandable. Based on these insights, you’ll get a closer view on what the general sentiment of your brand is, so that you can keep a closer eye on your reputation, and make adjustments where necessary.
The importance of reputation management
By structurally setting up media monitoring, you will be able to collect input for communication, marketing and customer service, as well as analyze which factors influence the online reputation of your brand. Brands are hit daily with messages from stakeholders on social media, but also on news sites, blogs and in newspapers and magazines. In order to get a good overview of your reputation, it’s important to also get a good overview of all these sources and messages. It gives valuable insight into messages from customers, potential customers and stakeholders. This way you know what’s going on, and you can decide which buttons need to be pushed.
In order to manage a reputation properly, you first have to know what to look at. Reputation management – online and offline – is the process of identifying, influencing and optimizing public confidence in an organisation via online and offline media. This means that you, as a communication professional for your brand or organisation, collect data on what is being said about your brand, exert influence where necessary to adjust your reputation, and optimize all of this in order to strengthen your reputation.
How do you measure brand reputation?
When measuring your organisation’s reputation, there are 4 emotional indicators that are important: trust, appreciation, admiration and a good feeling. The most commonly used method for measuring this is the RepTrak© method – also known as the 7 reputation pillars – of the Reputation Institute (Van Riel, C., 2014). The purpose of the Reputation Institute is to help organisations answer the following questions:
- What is my reputation?
- How does my reputation compare?
- How can I improve my reputation?
These elements combined form a reputation score. The pillars measure externally what the attitudes among the target groups are with regard to various topics that have to do with your organisation. In addition to consumers, the opinions of important stakeholders are also included. The 7 dimensions on which an organisation is assessed:
In addition to the Reptrak method, you can also use our very own OBI RepScore. The advantage of this score is that organisations get a reputation score based on their own objectives, themes and/or the reputation pillars of Van Riel.
Action! From data to insights.
Monitoring and analyzing data gives you the opportunity to gain insights with which you, as an organisation, can use to help in taking further steps. Data analysis and in-depth reports will give you new insights on a weekly or monthly basis, and can also be used ad hoc, for example, in the event of a specific incident or the launch of a new product.