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It’s dangerous out there. Judgments made in the online world can be swift and irreversible. Statistics bear that out. According to Forbes:
It’s been estimated that one negative article — yes, just one — found online can cause a company to lose almost one-quarter of its business.
In this unforgiving environment, both companies and individuals need to pay careful attention to what is being said about them, both online and off. Even a lie or false rumor can destroy a reputation — fast. Within just seconds of being reported, a scandal, even a fake one, will be ricocheting around the Internet.
Examples are everywhere – from privacy issues surrounding Facebook’s association with Cambridge Analytica, the resignation of Kobe Steel’s CEO and VW’s diesel gate to Nike’s scandal threatening its image with women.
So how, in a business environment, can you rectify the situation? How to undo the damage? Or better yet, how can you guard against such occurrences in the first place?
The answer is reputation management. Whether you are a company or an individual, whatever people hear you will have a direct correlation on how it is viewed. Reputation management should be a key factor in your company’s development.
At ARTEMIA communications we have long experience helping clients to build their brands for maximum resilience. The more positive the message, the less it can be compromised by negativity. The best way to prevent a public relations disaster, is to see that it never arises in the first place. (That said, of course, you need to know how to react if it does. See ARTEMIA’s 4/19/18 blog “How to Manage a PR Nightmare.”)
“Action — not spin — builds strong reputations,” as McKinsey Quarterly once reported. Here are some steps you can take to keep your reputation strong:
1) Prevention is the best cure. If you’ve developed a strong brand in the first place you will be in a better place to address any negative information that might arise. Invest in media training so that you can protect yourself on line, while also promoting your brand and its message.
2) If you receive negative publicity article react quickly and decisively in both the virtual and real worlds to counteract it. Respond to a negative with a positive, preferably even more than one.
3) Own it. If you’re an individual with a difficult past history — drug abuse or criminal behavior, for example — take preventive measures by addressing it directly, in as positive a light as you can. Bring it up on your own, before someone else can. Explain yourself, as sympathetically as possible. Move to recover your personal brand by showing how you have moved past this negative issue.
Maintaining a positive reputation is an ongoing process. There’s nothing static about it. Almost inevitably, negative messaging will have an impact on your brand. The trick is to make sure that it is counterbalanced by positive news.
Damage to a reputation goes far beyond playground gossip. It can derail a person’s career and overall life path. Make sure that the best possible version of yourself is out there. Build a firewall between your brand and any associations that might have a negative impact on it.
To learn more about reputation management, reach out to us here or contact us at 415-351-2227
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