In 2010, Greenpeace launched a campaign against KitKat, one Nestlé’s most popular products. The battle took place over a video that was created by the non-profit organization calling out the food brand for its use of palm oil in its candy bars which was connected to the destruction of forests and death of orangutans.
Nestlé handled the situation by –
- Not giving any answers
- Deleting most of the comments
- Asking YouTube to remove the clip by citing copyright concerns
11 years have passed and yet the story still exists in internet archives and in the minds of some customers. This goes to show that no matter how hard a company tries to remove negative feedback, the more it can work against them.
This is why creating a rock-solid Online Reputation Management strategy can do wonders for your business.
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
ORM is all about taking charge of online conversations around your brand. It consists of techniques and strategies that allow you to highlight your most positive qualities to engage more people online. This includes leveraging key materials, quickly responding to customer inquiries, and actively monitoring brand mentions online through social media & other channels.
When you are on top of managing your reputation, you will increase customer loyalty while ensuring a mostly positive online presence for your business.
What is the Difference Between ORM and PR?
While both PR and ORM have the same goal - to project more brand positivity - the main difference is how they go about it. PR works to help better position your brand externally with some exciting news and development while also being used for damage control from time to time. PR can even be special announcements made through social media or directly to your contact base via email.
ORM on the other hand is more of a reactive and consistent process that works to answer questions, handle customer inquiries, and resolve issues quickly. It can be an incredibly valuable resource which is why some companies opt to have an internal team keep a close eye on it.
Why Should You Care About ORM?
Take a look at the following statistics:
- About 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase.
- 93% of customers will read reviews of local businesses to determine their quality.
- Customers spend 31% more when a business has positive reviews.
- 89% of consumers read replies to reviews.
- 67% of B2B buyers want to see a mix of both positive and negative reviews when checking out a business.
The numbers say it all. In a nutshell, ORM is important for your brand because:
- It directly affects buying decisions. A poor brand reputation can lead to a poor customer base. You never want to give your customers reasons to doubt you which is what happens when they see how your company is perceived by others.
- It works as word-of-mouth – ORM is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth. For example, consider Glassdoor reviews which offer more insight into what it's like to work for a certain company compared to what that company publishes about itself.
- The feedback is incredibly valuable – The things that people say about your brand can be immensely valuable and help you learn more about your target audience. By monitoring these conversations, you will be able to collect important insights that you could use to make your products/services better.
- Deleting negative reviews only makes things worse – You have likely heard that when something is posted online, it stays there forever and this is also true for your reviews. While some platforms allow you to delete negative reviews, this is not recommended as it can take a situation with a disgruntled customer from bad to worse. What might have been a simple fix could get escalated out of control.
How to Manage ORM of Your Brand/Business?
The bigger your brand gets, the harder it becomes to keep a track of all of your brand mentions. So, how can you ensure to properly manage your brand reputation? Here are some concrete steps that you can take:
- Have a Dedicated Support Handle – Nike, for example, has a dedicated customer support handle on Twitter called @NIkeSupport which is only for managing customer queries. Adopting a similar approach for your business can help you keep all of your customer interactions in one place, helping you increase your responsiveness.
- Respond, Respond, Respond – Whether it is social media, Google reviews, Glassdoor, or any other platform, make it a point to respond to all feedback from your customers, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. In fact, a study from HBR reported that customers whose complaints got handled in less than 5 minutes tend to spend more on future purchases from a business.
- Use tools and tech – There are a lot of tools that businesses use to stay on top of their ORM strategy. Google Alerts is one such tool that can help you keep track of brand mentions across the internet, both positive and negative. You can also take advantage of Google Trends, Yahoo Alerts, Advanced Twitter Search, and others for similar purposes as well.
- Constantly churn positive content – By collaborating with brands, businesses, and people, you can constantly put your brand in the spotlight by curating great content across your website, email, social media platforms, and other third-party websites.
- Choose a firm who can help you manage it – Working with a firm like Webware who has the expertise and experience with handling these situations can help you reach your goals faster.
What others think of your brand is not under your control and a poor approach in how you respond to customers can lead to irreparable damage. ORM doesn't just allow you to interact with your customers, it is perhaps the best way for your business to take preventative measures for your brand image.