Online reputation quality, whether it is the reputation of a business or an individual, can dictate and even predict future earnings, according to new findings. Research studies conducted by several PR firms and media consultancies have found that recent business reviews, search query tools such as AutoComplete, and social media presence can affect an organization’s ability not only to attract customers, but hire and retain qualified staff. —
“Reputation management is about more than getting your name at the top of the search rankings in a benign way; it’s about constructing a coherent, positive, and effective narrative using all facets of online search and social networking,” says Reputation Management Consultants’ Director of Strategy Anthony Asuncion. “Strong PR is therefore an instrumental component within any reputation management strategy, and that must be maintained constantly, regardless of how generally positive your online reputation currently is. Technology, your industry, and consumer expectations are constantly shifting and evolving; your reputation management and PR strategies should be, too.”
How important, exactly, is online reputation to a brand’s bottom line? According to a survey conducted by the search marketing firm BrightLocal, 91 percent of consumers in North America judge a business’s trustworthiness after reading fewer than 10 reviews from crowdsourced review sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon). Moreover, 60 percent of survey respondents reported that they will not use a business if the most recent reviews (under three months) are negative, and that they believe that they can effectively decipher authentic reviews from “fake” ones.
A brand’s reputation can also be at the mercy of seemingly innocuous search tools. “Organizations don’t realize how much something like AutoComplete influences public attitude,” continues Anthony Asuncion. “A person starts typing a brand name into Google, and suddenly the brand name followed by ‘scam’ or ‘rip-off’ pops up, and the potential customer thinks, ‘Whoa – what kind of organization is this?’”
A poor reputation may also prevent qualified job candidates from accepting offers of employment or even submitting applications. A study performed by CR Magazine found that 69 percent of job seekers will refuse an offer from an organization with a bad online reputation – regardless of the job seeker’s employment status. The number of women who will turn down a position is even higher: 87 percent of female respondents said they would reject the offer from a company with a poor reputation.
Creating a coherent PR narrative can help prevent reputation crises from shadowing and adversely affecting a brand’s positive actions. The recent announcement by Foxconn that it will be investing $10 billion in the production of a Wisconsin LCD factory that could employ as many as 13,000 locals was overshadowed by its reputation for employee exploitation. Even events that are demonstrably not the fault of the organization can become indelibly associated with the brand, and ultimately cause catastrophic losses in revenue, as is the case with Australia’s tourism industry. Australia’s tourism industry may be suffering from its reputation as the shark attack capital of the world. According to the article, if tourism dropped by 1 percent, it could mean an annual loss of $475 million.
“It is so important to be constantly working on your reputation,” concludes Mr. Asuncion. “Some things are just out of your control, but executing a well-thought-out plan will help protect your brand and ensure public confidence. Allowing a bad reputation to linger will only turn positive stories into negative ones.”
Email: Send Email
Organization: Fusion Media
Release ID: 226667