8 November 2010 6 Comments

Brands and online reputation: are you watching your back?

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

E- reputationBrand reputationThe web is now an essential part of brand’s daily living. Surviving without the web today is becoming a near impossible task. We live in the age of conversation. Almost everyone is talking. Those who have something worthwhile to say and those who just want to express their opinions.

Any brand that ignores the web today needs to reconsider its stand. With available fact and couple with recent one released by exact target, average tweet per second is now six hundred, Google Searches per second stands at thirty four thousands while there is now an average of seven hundred facebook posts per second. These figures are not just ranting of the fools. Most of them have something to do with brands and possibly some may affect your brand too. Not knowing what is being said about your brand is not a remedy to the effect such can have on your brand’s performance. Someone has rightly said that most companies that file for bankprutcy in the United States started having issues with their reputations- either related to management or system- before they went done.

While brands may not have total control on what is being said, it has responsibility to monitor and set the record straight. There is no excuse today for any brand to claim it has no tool to monitor its online reputation. As much as offline reputation is important, I feel online reputation has a stronger effect on the brand. The brand’s online reputation is what everyone around the world is first exposed to before they make enquiries from distance relations with regards to where the brand is physically located. In fact not so many people go the extra mile of making such long distance.

Consumers, investors are now moving faster to do some background check on many brands while some of the brands are still dragging their feet as to what steps to take to catch up with the process. Many still continue to spend a lot of funds on telephone based customer service and support too. They want to find out what customers think about their brands through individual phone contacts that will take ages and gulp funds too. When all they have to do is to monitor such opinions from several platforms where those people hibernate. This does not mean I am advocating an overdependence on ‘invisible and lack of personal touch/contact offers by the web.

It is high time brands realise that   consumers are already in control of brands. They are shaping the conversation with every blog post, tweet, facebook update, discussions at different niche/networking sites or update they write. It’s time for brands to not only join the conversation, but to amplify and sustain real time dialogue with their customers.

Engaging in this will aid brands in monitoring their reputation and ensure they are viewed positively when a search is conducted on them. Knowing what is being said will also help the brand to know what strategies to employ in maintaining a positive search result on Google. The solution to bad reputation is either to feed the web with further positive materials or to contact the source of the bad publicity and work ‘stuff’ out.

 For those who do not know what tools to use in monitoring their online reputation, they can start with tools like Google alerts, social mention, Tweetdeck and radiant6 among many other available tools. Let me conclude this piece with the words of Maria Ross when she said ‘when we do what we are supposed to do something magical happens: those who have experienced the brand firsthand will evangelize for you. And don’t be afraid to ask your community or clients to spread the word via social media or sizzling testimonials. When you deliver the goods, most people are happy to champion you, so don’t be afraid to ask’. Brands excel and become more effective when the testimonials come from others and not just you.  Which tools is your brand using to monitor your online reputation? Do you have issues with your brand online reputation? Share it with the community as we may offer solution to them in subsequent posts. That is the essence of this community.

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