Does Your Company Need a Reputation Manager?

January 2017

Source: Thinkstock

This weekend actress Meryl Streep, while accepting a lifetime achievement award during the Golden Globes ceremony, spoke out against the tone the U.S. President-Elect has set through his actions, words and online behavior. And, playing right to Streep’s point, Donald Trump responded through Twitter with unflattering comments about one of the most acclaimed actors of all time. Earlier, those invested in Toyota saw their stock price fall after Trump sent out a far-from-complimentary tweet about the automaker’s manufacturing plans. A few weeks prior, Boeing watched its stock value slide after it was caught in Trump’s Twitter crosshairs.

CEOs are now privately asking each other, as if it’s some kind of status symbol: Have you been the subject of a critical Trump tweet yet? But they are also asking their marketing and public relations departments to be proactive, leading to growing interest in reputation managers. These are communications professionals hired specifically to monitor and manage what is said about a company or its officials and have a game plan for how to respond. This position is more tactical and works in tandem with a team of social media watchdogs or trusted partners outside organization specializing in reputation management.

If January is any indication, this is going to be a busy year for social media mavens. Best prepare for the worse and hope for the best.

Your reputation is your brand
Most marketing, public relations and corporate communications departments have long designated someone, or a group, to monitor social networks and news feeds to know what people are saying about them. But there’s been a shift in the past year toward more truth-less claims being given credence by way of reposts and retweets.

An unflattering story can go viral within minutes, leaving little time to work a response plan up the chain of approval. The corporate brand is muddied in just a moment, while repairing the damage typically takes much longer, even if the initial post or tweet or review was wrong. Protecting a brand and responding quickly to critics is paramount in today’s business world. A reputation manager not only helps devise that plan but is responsible for its execution.

Building credibility and trust
Trust is important to any company or freelancer. At Twirling Tiger Media, trust is among our four core values – our clients must believe in our abilities to create high-quality, accurate content aligned with their values and goals. It envelopes everything we do and why we say we are “hardwired to trust.” We want to be seen as a highly credible resource, as do those organizations we serve. No company wants, or expects, anything less.

Your reputation impacts more than public perception
Most customers now do some due diligence before deciding to do business with someone. Usually, it means looking online to see what’s been written about a company and, if it’s a consumer-based product or service, the online reviews. We’re all aware that popular review sites like Yelp and Amazon have been undermined by widespread skepticism or scandals at some point. But enough poor reviews or unflattering blog posts typically demonstrate a trend that can impact sales. It also can impact morale and lead to higher turnover with fewer qualified prospects wanting to join the company.

It may be time to assess how your company is publicly perceived and decide if it’s time to reboot and create a new narrative. An outsider’s assessment can help find the weak points. And a team devoted to creating high-caliber custom content and content marketing – whether within an existing workforce or hired to augment one – can help a company move their brand in a positive direction.

Anne Saita