With a recent study revealing that company reputation is now worth a staggering £1.7trillion in the UK, why is it that a quarter of companies are continuing to neglect their reputation and maintenance of it?
For many businesses, the priority of holding a good online profile is something that gets bypassed. However with recent statistics from the small and mid-cap sentiment index revealing that 28% of a company’s value is down to their reputation, it is clear that this matter is something that needs to be bumped up the priority list.
Lack of reputation maintenance
Out of a study of 220 businesses, two thirds revealed that they do not have a plan in place in order to manage and maintain their reputation; whilst 40% of firms within the financial advisory sector admitted that they feel that UK firms are totally unprepared.
One financial advisor spoke to the Telegraph stating: “Many clients fail to appreciate the damage that seemingly innocuous news can do to their share price and ability to raise further funds… high profile failures haven’t helped. Lack of liquidity amplifies small changes in shareholder sentiment.”
Businesses across the globe fall victims to reputation damage daily but there are a few high profile cases that have been played out for us all to see, Volkswagen and Merlin Entertainments (Alton Towers) seemed to be the biggest of 2015. Both companies have faced severe reputation damages and made significant losses.
Volkswagen was found to have cheated pollution and emission tests, installing a “cheat-device” that enabled their cars to detect when an emissions test was being carried out and temporarily alter the emissions to a legal, passable level.
In an interview for PR Weekly conducted in 2015, Igniyte explained: “A company of this size will surely have procedures in place to minimise reputational risk – at some point, a decision was made at board level to deliberately mislead the authorities.”
It is not uncommon for companies to struggle to rebuild the reputation they once had previous to a reputation crisis. This is particularly hard for companies who have a large, long-standing consumer base. With this in mind it is crucial that constant monitoring and safeguarding is present in order to protect it from any potential crises.
Prioritising reputation management
Minimising the possibility of reputational risks can be done by implementing a few simple steps:
Own page one: You can do this by creating a number of online assets in the form of social media pages, company websites, interviews and articles. These online assets should rank highly for your name and ultimately give your company ‘ownership’ of the first page of Google, pushing unwanted content further back in the pages.
Regular content: Google picks up on the regular and relevant content and takes this into consideration when ranking. By linking your assets and company name where suitable this too works in your favour. Ensuring all content is relevant to your target audience will allow you to attract the desired consumers and build a B2C relationship.
Online assets: The use of sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect ways to ensure that you are communicating with your target audience on a large scale platform. This is beneficial not only to engage current customers but to reach out and acquire new business.
Google alerts: By setting up Google alerts you can choose to monitor and be alerted whenever your companies name is mention online. Whether it be via an article or forum, this enables you to quickly respond if necessary and keep track of where and why your company is being mentioned.
Press releases: Negative press is often something that companies have trouble coming up against. However by generating PR opportunities with a selection of local, regional and if possible, national press you are optimizing the chances of any previous negative or unwanted press being ranked lower in a Google search for your company.
More guidance and tips with regards to managing online reputation is available from Igniyte’s ‘Ten Tips for Company Reputation Management’ blog post.
If you are facing an issue relating to company online reputation or would like assistance implementing a crisis management strategy, please contact me on 0203 542 8689 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. All enquiries are dealt with in complete confidence.